Millions for grassroots rugby: RFU and Premiership Rugby deal to benefit the community game

Saracens won the Premiership Rugby title last season / Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Community rugby and the academies of professional rugby clubs will receive fresh investment following a new £200m+ agreement signed between the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby. 

The pair have committed to a “multi-million pound community programme” as part of an eight-year revenue share deal. 

Grassroots funding will be distributed on top of the revenues the RFU has already committed to the grassroots game. Last year the national governing body ploughed £32.5m (US$42.7m, €38.9m) into community rugby. 

The agreement is made up of two payment timescales: the first four-year payment fixed at £112m (US$147.1m, €133.9m), while the second four-year payment could potentially be higher than £112m depending on the English Qualified Player threshold being met by clubs and academy standards achieved. 

Those academy standards should improve, however, with a portion of the cash dedicated to improving facilities for youth elite players, although the amount of money has not been specified by the organisations. 

Following on from the £7m (US$9.2m, €8.4m) the RFU signed with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players Association to preserve the welfare of players, the new agreement stipulates that professionals who pass a threshold of minutes by November will have a mandatory one week rest period over Christmas. 

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said the deal would help Premiership clubs remain “sustainable thriving businesses” and improve the overall health of English rugby. 

 

First published on www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, 26 July 2016, written by Matthew Campelli