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Rugby

The battle for the soul of rugby



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Former Ireland captain Keith Wood has expressed his concern about the possibility of a private equity firm buying a stake in the global game and influencing rugby's future.

Reports have been circulating in the media that a lucrative offer is already on the table which may alter the future of the game in a huge way.

"I'm properly worried by it, I have to say," Wood told Joe on Wednesday Night Rugby.  "I think there are a lot of flaws in World Rugby's view and their league. I don't necessarily agree with it and when big numbers get bandied about - everybody gets very excited because this could suddenly put rugby on a financial footing that makes sense.

"Irrespective of what way you look at it - rugby doesn't make sense at the moment. All the clubs lose money, most of the unions lose money so the model that's there isn't entirely right and it needs to be rectified.

Whether that should go to a private equity company, who take stakes on all our different leagues and competitions - people will pay a lot of money for those but they will look for an awful lot back.

"And, until we see some level of detail on it, I would look at it - not with careful caution but with full caution. I'm worried about it because one of the elements of what World Rugby is, is World Rugby is supposed to look after the game.

"All the money that's in World Rugby is to go back into the game. It does all go back into the game - we may not like how it goes back in, we may say they do certain things wrong, there may not be enough money for some of the other countries but ultimately all the money goes back into the game.

"And, it's made up of the rugby unions so having a private equity firm on the outside coming in - that changes the whole dynamic of what happens," he added.

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