Fears that the cash-hungry Six Nations will fail to close its touted deal with CVC Capital Partners have grown following claims that a pitch by England, Scotland and Wales for a UK Government pandemic bailout has now affected negotiations. 

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Six Nations administrators were reported last February to be near to clinching a £300million investment for giving up a 14 per cent stake in the tournament. 

Each of the six countries involved were believed to be set to bank a massive windfall – up to £70million in England’s case – if the deal went through. However, the pandemic shutdown of rugby put those talks on the long-finger and the matter has now been complicated by recent English, Welsh and Scottish approaches to Government asking for financial assistance. 

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According to a report in the Daily Mail, the complication is that any Government funding would need to be quickly repaid if the financial outlook for the RFU, WRU and SRU is enhanced by the completion of the CVC deal. 

CVC have recently become a major player on the rugby scene, securing a 27 per cent £200m stake in the Gallagher Premiership while also agreeing a 28 per cent £120m buy into the PRO14.  

Their interest in netting a piece of the Six Nations, though, has become uncertain in recent weeks with the RFU submitting financial records to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport amid claims they faced losses of £60m and a revenue reduction of £138m due to the pandemic.  

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The WRU have bolstered their financial situation by taking out a £20m bank loan but they, along with the SRU, are also looking for UK Government assistance.  

With the delayed 2020 Six Nations set to restart on October 24 in Dublin, with a full round of matches scheduled to complete the tournament a week later, the emergence of this complication in talks with CVC is the latest stumbling block for the competition this week.

Already there are rumoured discussions about delaying the planned early February start to the 2021 tournament due to the current situation in the UK where fans are not permitted at sports events due to health restrictions.

It’s feared that continuing to play in empty stadiums, as will happen in coming weeks, is pointless as the unions are crying out for matchday revenue to help stem the major financial losses of the past seven months.       

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