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Dublin: 12°C Friday 25 September 2020

Premiership clubs boosted by new £224m+ agreement with the RFU

‘This is a true partnership focused on making English rugby the best in the world for club and country.’

THE RFU AND Premiership Rugby have agreed a new partnership that is worth more than £224 million over the next eight years.

The agreement between the English union and the governing body of England’s professional leagues will see the financial clout of the Premiership sides increase further in the coming seasons.

Brad Barritt and Schalk Brits celebrate Saracens won the Champions Cup last season. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

After a 2015/16 campaign that saw Eddie Jones’ England win a Grand Slam and complete a series whitewash of the Wallabies in Australia, as well as featuring a Champions Cup triumph for Saracens, Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty says this new deal can lay the platform for “a period of sustained success for both club and country.”

Under the terms of the partnership, the English clubs will benefit to the fixed sum of £112 million over the first four years. The second four years of the deal may be worth more than £112 million depending on the financial performance of English rugby.

The England national team will benefit through the increase of their England Elite Player Squad [EPS] from 33 to 45 players, with head coach Jones now being free to call 36 players into his training camps, rather than the previous 33.

A reduced number of 20 players will be called into a “Next EPS squad” for possible Saxons selection and training camps.

Jones’ access to his international players has also been improved with the addition of England training camps into the calendar. England will have a two-day camp in August, another at the beginning of October, as well as an additional camp in the first week in January.

The agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby also stresses the need for player welfare to remain a priority, while the funding to club academies has increased, with new academy licences handed to 14 professional clubs.

Eddie Jones and Dylan Hartley celebrate with the Cook Cup England beat the Wallabies 3-0 in June. Source: Photosport/Paul Seiser/INPHO

Premiership Rugby chief McCafferty is confident this announcement will help the English clubs to grow:

“The significantly increased monies to the Premiership clubs, alongside their own increased TV and commercial revenues, will ensure that Aviva Premiership Rugby continues to go from strength-to- strength based on world-class England Qualified Players and a very strong academy pipeline of talent. In addition, this is intended to underpin further European success.”

Meanwhile, RFU CEO Ian Ritchie welcomed the partnership.

This is a true partnership focused on making English rugby the best in the world for club and country,” said Ritchie. “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 focused 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.”

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Murray Kinsella

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