English Premiership rugby union clubs have opted not to accept a £275m offer from private equity firm CVC for a 51-per-cent stake in the league.
Premiership chairman Ian Ritchie told BBC Sport that the sale is “not a preferred option,” but clubs will look to seek outside investment “as a matter of urgency”.
The clubs unanimously agreed during a board meeting yesterday (Tuesday) that the offer from CVC would not be accepted.
Ritchie told BBC Sport: “The good thing for us is clearly there’s a great interest in a fantastic product.”
“We’re very interested to explore areas of investment to grow the game and the league even further. But, it’s fair to say, the majority control is not the preferred option but we would look at a variety of investment opportunities.”
CVC formerly owned the Formula One motor-racing series and the BBC noted that its offer was a distance away from the potential value of the Premiership business. Bath Rugby was reportedly one of the clubs opposed to the deal.
Ritchie added: “We’ve not had any proposition or proposal from the RFU. If something comes in, like any grown up, we’d look at it. We have had several (expressions of interest). It is not appropriate to show who they are but what it does show is the value of the league, potentially the interest in it, because it’s a good proposition.”
Increased investment in the league would potentially unlock a range of stadium developments for Premiership clubs. The news comes after it emerged last month that clubs recorded total losses of £28.5m (€31.4m/$36.7m).