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Ospreys: B&I League happening soon

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Ospreys chairman makes startling claim over the formation of a British and Irish League

Ospreys officials may have been tongue-tied all week regarding the farcical situation over whether Allen Clarke is still their coach or not.

However, club administrators used their Friday media conference – at which they confusingly admitted Clarke is still a club employee but not in charge of the rugby – to declare that a British and Irish League will be set-up by 2022. 

The struggling Welsh region are expecting private equity firm CVC to sign off on their deal to acquire a 27 per cent holding in the Guinness PRO14 before the end of this year.

That agreement is worth an estimated £120million windfall to the league on the proviso that 27 per cent of the tournament’s income is then annually passed on to CVC.

With CVC already a shareholder in the Gallagher Premiership and current TV broadcast deals set to elapse in 2022, Ospreys chairman Rob Davies believes the situation is heading towards the formation of a B&I League that will forcefully drive new revenue streams.

(Continue reading below…)

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That would potentially be quite a shot in the arm for the Welsh regions whose rugby was in such a state of flux that club amalgamations were being considered as recently as last March before it was decided to stick with the current four-team set-up.  

“It’s been tough but we’ll come out of it pretty well,” said Ospreys chairman Rob Davies at a media conference reported by walesonline.com.

“We were already coming out of it pretty well, losing a coach is a mere blip. It’s not going to stop the progress that we are making with the help of the professional rugby board and others.

“We’re making very good progress to achieve our ambition to become a highly competitive region when the British and Irish League commences.

“It’s as certain as once you get these hedge funds involved and there is lots of money on the table, something is going to happen. It will be nothing to do with me but I’d vote for it.

“All the TV deals are due to expire in two years (2022). CVC, who already have an interest in the English, are attempting to secure the rights to the Six Nations, that discussion is well advanced.

“When you’re dealing with the Irish, the French and the Scots and add in the Italians, it’s not easy to get a consensus. Those negotiations are proceeding quite well. The timescale for them is probably the middle to the end of the autumn internationals next year.

“That will enable a different outlook towards planning a season in a more structured way so you can fit in the league and the Six Nations in a more orderly fashion instead of having all this disjointed way that it currently is. That’s the opportunity and that’s what makes it so exciting. We all believe that will be in 2022.”

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Ospreys chairman makes startling claim over the formation of a British and Irish League