All Blacks star Beauden Barrett and Wales sharpshooter Dan Biggar and among two names linked with what many are touting as France’s latest nouveau riche rugby club – Beziers.
The pair are among a growing list of players linked with the ProD2 side, who are reportedly being taken over by billionaire investors from the UAE. The investors are said to be members of a Middle Eastern royal family and are intent on pumping millions into the unassuming AS Beziers Hérault.
The investors are set to wipe away the club’s €5 million worth of debts and invest heavily in star power to push the team into the Top 14. Barrett and Biggar are set to be high on their wish lists, according to reports.
Current San Diego Legion and All Blacks veteran Ma’a Nonu is also said to be a potential target, while French international Benjamin Fall is said to already be on onboard, provided the deal to take over the club actually goes ahead.
Former French international Christophe Dominici is said to be representing the new investors, and they are already active on the market according to French media outlet RugbyRama.
Beziers have won eleven French championship titles since its establishment in 1911, but have fallen down the tables in recent years, even facing the ignominy of relegation to the Federale 1 at the end of 2008-09 season. They stand at 9th in the ProD2 and face a complete overhaul if they want to win relegation form the super-competitive second division, which currently includes the likes of Grenoble, Biarritz, Perpignan and Colomiers.
The Top 14 has seen huge external investment from multi-millionaire and billionaire owners over the course of the last two decades. Racing 92, Stade Francais, Montpellier and mostly famous Toulon are among clubs who have wielded enormous financial clout thanks to super-rich owners taking over and opening up their purses.
Critics of the trend say it distorts the market, inflating player wages and ultimately making the sport unsustainable.
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