'Game-changing' Premiership investment remains on course

London (AFP) –


Premiership Rugby chairman Ian Ritchie on Tuesday insisted his organisation remain on track to complete a multi-million pound investment deal that will change the face of rugby union.

Ritchie had been expected to announce the completion of the £230 million ($288 million) deal with CVC Capital Partners following Premiership Rugby's latest meeting on Tuesday.

Instead, cash-strapped English top-flight clubs will have to wait.

"We had a good PRL board meeting and there remains a unanimity about our approach and our desire to enter into (this deal)," Ritchie said of the plan, which would earn each club an estimated £18 million in exchange for CVC becoming the PRL's partners.

"We remain on track with our objectives. These discussions are inevitably complex but we have had a good meeting today and we remain with that shared objective."

PRL chief executive Mark McCafferty indicated the deal was close enough that it might not even require another formal meeting before the biggest investment in the history of the game can be announced.

Officials hope it will transform the domestic competition, leading to a much greater strength in depth and more opportunities for the smaller clubs to challenge for silverware.

Under the PRL's existing rules, the salary cap level remains at £7 million irrespective of the prospective investment levels.

"I wouldn't say there were sticking points, it's more that these are not straightforward negotiations because they have got a number of different angles to them," McCafferty said.

"With the collective will around the table today, we can find the results to those remaining few items.

"It will be a landmark moment, if we can get there, which will usher in a new era for the game going into next year, and that will allow the clubs to make the next big investment in the game."