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Six Nations organisers seek to dampen expectation of imminent windfall from CVC

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Action from the Six Nations clash between Ireland and England at Twickenham last February. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Action from the Six Nations clash between Ireland and England at Twickenham last February. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Action from the Six Nations clash between Ireland and England at Twickenham last February. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Six Nations organisers have moved to dampen the expectation that the competition is set for imminent major investment.

Days after French Federation chief Bernard Laporte said the body will receive €75m from CVC Capital Partners' move for a 14.5pc share of the tournament, Six Nations issued a statement in which it confirmed the negotiations but said agreement was not close.

There has been some dispute over the potential value of the deal, with Laporte suggesting that the French and English may secure a higher proportion of the investment than their Celtic and Italian partners due to the greater pulling power they hold with broadcasters.

Still, the moneys would be gratefully received by cash-strapped organisations which are dealing with the financial fallout of the Covid-19 shutdown.

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President of the Fédération Française de Rugby Bernard Laporte

President of the Fédération Française de Rugby Bernard Laporte

SPORTSFILE

President of the Fédération Française de Rugby Bernard Laporte

In a week where the English RFU announced more than 100 job losses, the IRFU is set to resume negotiations with Rugby Players Ireland on Wednesday to try and secure agreement on a reduction in pay.

The players union has reviewed the IRFU's books and will be represented at the table by representatives from accountancy firm BDO and chief executive Simon Keogh.

Agreement with CVC, which has already bought into the English Premiership and the Guinness PRO14, would greatly boost the IRFU's financial position.

However, the Six Nations say it is still a long way off.

"Over the past year, Six Nations has been involved in exclusive negotiations with CVC Capital Partners. These negotiations have been
very constructive and forward thinking," the statement read.

"Negotiations of this nature are complex. They can take significant time and at this point, are still ongoing. An agreement is not to be expected imminently and it would be inaccurate to present it as a formality.

"There is no set timeline for completion of this process, and any agreement, if it were to go ahead, would not be accelerated due to any potential challenge presented by the current external environment."

Laporte indicated that agreement could be reached by the end of August.

"They (CVC) just made a counter proposal last week. A meeting is to take place in the coming days, but I am confident that within two months it will be signed,” the World Rugby vice chairman said.

"We are talking about a capital gain of around 14.5 per cent in a company created by the Six Nations tournament committee in which commercial rights will be managed.

"The sum invested by CVC will be distributed among the six shareholder federations in proportion to the number of licensees in each country.

"In the first discussion, there was talk of €79 million over five years. With the renegotiation, we will be closer to €75 million, but this represents a substantial sum which will allow us to continue the redistribution to the clubs and to carry out new projects."

Meanwhile, work on the schedule for rugby's resumption is ongoing and plans were boosted by the organisation representing French clubs, LNR, agreeing to release players for five weeks rather than the traditional four in the autumn.

That should help pave the way for the completion of the 2020 Six Nations at the end of October, while it looks increasingly likely that Ireland will be involved in an eight-team tournament with the other Six Nations teams, Fiji and Japan with the Rugby Championship going ahead in the Southern Hemisphere.

The organisation that manages that tournament, SANZAAR, is under threat according to a report in New Zealand that indicates the union there is set to go it alone with Australia rather than compete in Super Rugby in future seasons.

That could open up the long-mooted prospect of further South African involvement in the PRO14, with the latest reports indicating that the struggling Cheetahs and Southern Kings would be replaced by traditional powerhouses from the big cities The Bulls, The Lions, The Sharks and The Stormers.

Online Editors