RFU and Premiership Rugby sign professional game agreement

By iSportconnect | July 25, 2016

The RFU and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) have agreed a new partnership for the next eight years until July 202.

The agreement for club and country will see Premiership clubs benefit from the successful financial performance of England Rugby for the first time, as PRL and the RFU have agreed an appropriate share of rugby revenues as a basis for the investment over the life of the deal.

This will enable both the RFU and the clubs to continue to grow together on and off the pitch, and to ensure all parties work together to make the domestic game and England international teams stronger in the future.

The partnership is worth over £200 million, with the first four-year payment fixed at £112 million. The second four-year payment could potentially be higher than £112 million subject to financial performance under the rugby revenue share partnership approach. The funding model for the clubs is based on the English Qualified Player (EQP) threshold being met, the Elite Player Squads (EPS) and standards for club academies being achieved.

The Professional Game Agreement will see the England Elite Player Squad (EPS) increase from 33 to 45 players and greater flexibility during core international periods so 36 players can be selected for the camp instead of 33. The England Head Coach will now also be able to make the final selection of 45 squad members in the first week of October. A reduced number of 20 players will be selected as part of a Next EPS squad for training camps and possible Saxon fixtures.

Ian Ritchie, RFU Chief Executive said: “This is a true partnership focussed on making English rugby the best in the world for club and country. A strong partnership between the RFU and the PRL  is critical if we are to grow professional rugby across the country for the benefit of the players, fans and the game.

“Player welfare, as ever, is a priority for us all, and so further rest periods have been built into the season. The RFU is focussed on investing in Premiership clubs, to ensure they are sustainable, thriving businesses, which will develop players for the national game.

“We look forward to working with Premiership Rugby over the next eight years to promote and support rugby in England.”

Mark McCafferty Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Officer said: “Success for England and the clubs depends on an effective partnership between the RFU and Premiership Rugby on many levels.

“We’ve seen that emerge from the last few years of the previous agreement and this new one is capable of setting the platform for a period of sustained success for both club and country, as we look to build on the strong finish to last season.

“The next year will also be very important in working together to secure the necessary improvements to the global season structure.”