Welsh rugby could be facing a new threat from the English game with reports Premiership clubs could rake in a eye-popping £17m in a ground-breaking deal to sell ownership of the league to a private equity firm.
The Times exclusively report Premiership chiefs have been in talks with CVC Capital Partners for some time over a potential takeover of the English top flight for £275m.
CVC is reported to have made close on £8billion from its 10-year ownership of Formula One.
The deal could net the 13 member clubs – the current 12 playing in Premiership this season plus London Irish – an initial £17m windfall each.
It’s being likened to the deal that formed football’s mega-rich Premier League back in 1992 and has the potential to make seismic changes to the club game in Europe since rugby went professional 23 years ago.
Despite backing from some wealthy benefactors, Premiership clubs lose a collective £30m a season.
The CVC deal, should it get the green light from Premiership clubs, could also see Sky Sports return with a bid for TV rights to screen club rugby in England.
Latest Welsh rugby news
It could well spell bad news for the Welsh and French game with England better equipped to offer star names bumper deals to ply their trade in the Premiership, though it’s being claimed the initial windfall wouldn’t see a dramatic rise in the current £7m salary cap (which is already significantly higher than the budgets of the Welsh regions).
Wales have introduced the new 60-cap rule to try and stop top players leaving for the riches of England and France, but have still seen the likes of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar quit the regional game in recent times.
Instead clubs would get the chance to invest in infrastructure and provide a long-term opportunity to boost its coffers from new stands and on-site hotels.
Club owners are expected to meet early next week to mull over the initial CVC offer that would see the firm purchase 51% of PRL.
Our most popular rugby features and interviews
WalesOnline regularly brings you in-depth interviews and features, Here are some of our best.
* Chris Jones is the only player who was banned for life TWICE. This is his story of redemption.
* Garin Jenkins’ untold life story is one of tragedy and difficulty, yet he says the support of Jesus Christ has helped him turn into a very different person
* Keith Muroch’s friends in a remote town in the Australian outback had no idea who he was. Now that he’s dead at 74, the story of what happened to the man who disappeared after being sent from Wales in disgrace more than 40 years ago can finally be told
* It’s been some sporting life for Mike Rayer, who has a drinking session named after him! Here’s the life and times of Mike Rayer.
* David Bishop was an incredible rugby player and a character the like of which has rarely been seen before. This is ‘Bish’ at 57.
* Everyone knows Jonathan ‘Jiffy’ Davies. This is the story of the tragedy that has affected his life and the remarkable thing he chose to do next.
* On the grounds of one of the most famous rugby stadiums in the Welsh Valleys, there lies a house. It is an ordinary house that has an extraordinary story to tell.
* Colin Charvis was a maverick; a Welsh rugby player who made headlines on the front and back pages and was always forthright with an opinion. We went to see him in his day job, found out about his new life and got to the truth about the most controversial smile in Welsh rugby history.
This content was originally published here.