Home SPORTS Independent advisers appointed by UK government to help stabilise future of professional rugby union

Independent advisers appointed by UK government to help stabilise future of professional rugby union

by EUToday Correspondents
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Former RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer, and UK Sport Board Member Chris Pilling have been appointed by the government as independent advisers to support the RFU and PRL in their work on the future sustainability of rugby union.

Following the recent failures of several clubs and the wider challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, rugby union has a unique opportunity to reshape its future strategic financial and sporting direction.

The government supports the RFU and PRL’s work to stabilise professional rugby union including attracting new capital investment. It shares the concerns of fans about where the game goes next, and has appointed two independent advisers to work with the RFU and PRL on their plans to restructure the Professional Game Agreement.

The issues at Worcester, Wasps and London Irish have laid bare the challenges facing the sport of rugby union. The inability of rugby clubs to raise capital investment and the financial challenges at various levels within the game have contributed to the need for urgent work to help secure rugby union’s immediate future and advise on its future direction.

The appointment of Rimmer and Pilling as independent advisers will add to the work being undertaken by the RFU and PRL, and has been made with their full agreement. They will provide further independent support and scrutiny on their vision to lead the game to a sustainable future.

Ralph Rimmer delivered substantial financial and regulatory reforms during his time with the Rugby Football League, while Chris Pilling will bring extensive sports management and financial sector expertise to the role.

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said:

This is a challenging time for rugby union and Ralph and Chris have agreed to utilise their experience to help the game develop a clear path for the future.

We have seen several high profile clubs and their fans left devastated in recent times and this additional independent advice will be of huge benefit to the RFU and PRL as they look to implement a new strategic direction for rugby.

During the pandemic, the UK government stepped in to provide a financial lifeline to keep elite and grassroots rugby afloat, and as key stakeholder in the future of professional rugby union is taking action to further protect its investment on behalf of taxpayers.

Rimmer and Pilling will work closely with the RFU, PRL and private equity partners CVC over the coming months in an independent capacity, and report directly to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Image: Door https://www.flickr.com/photos/awv/ Rob Gale – https://www.flickr.com/photos/awv/2479497591/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4608031

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