CVC Capital Partners is reportedly looking to add coronavirus clauses to its planned £300m investment in the Six Nations rugby union tournament, which will allow the buyout firm to withhold funding if the pandemic disrupts the sport further.
The private equity group is in the final stages of agreeing on a deal to take a 17 per cent stake in the tournament.
However the Financial Times reports that the fear over a second wave and the potential disruption to the competition has become a major sticking point.
The buyout firm is still looking to make the full £300m investment, to be paid in instalments over five years. It would split the money between the six unions – England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy. England and France will reportedly receive the largest share of the £300m because of the higher value of their broadcasting rights.
The deal was due to be finalised in March but was pushed back after the remaining games were postponed due to the pandemic.
CVC now wants to be able to withhold payments if the majority of the games are canceled or if there are bankruptcies, according to the FT.
The firm is also reportedly seeking commitments that the Six Nations will withhold some money from the six countries’ unions to cover costs in the event of a second wave which affects matches. However, the FT reports the unions have not agreed to these terms yet.
The Six Nations tournament is particularly vulnerable to disruption because it comprises of just 15 games, with four still to be played this season after the suspension in March.
Sporting events ground to a halt after the onset of the pandemic and competitions such as Premier League football and English cricket have only just just resumed. Rugby competitions have been slow to implement testing measures with the English Premiership only beginning to start testing players last week.
CVC Capital Partners declined to comment. Six Nations could not be reached for comment.