Aviva Premiership Rugby CEO Rejects MP's Claim League Is Run Like 'Cartel'
Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty has "rejected claims" from a Member of Parliament that the league operates like a cartel, according to Alex Lowe of the London INDEPENDENT. Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas has written to the Office Of Fair Trading with a request for the Competition Commission to investigate Premiership Rugby's funding structure. Thomas claimed that Premiership Rugby distributes money with a "clear bias" against newly-promoted clubs, because they "receive less money than established top flight teams." Thomas said, "There is a clear bias in how funding is distributed against teams promoted to the Premiership. The funding arrangements have all the appearance of a cartel." But McCafferty denied that he operates a cartel. He said, "I would reject that. We need to emphasise that we have promotion and relegation enshrined in our system and so people have access to the top level in England." Thomas claimed in his speech to the Commons that newly-promoted teams receive £1.4M ($2.1M) compared to the £3.5M ($5.3M) that goes to established Premiership clubs. Premiership Rugby "strongly disputed those figures," arguing that promoted teams only receive around £800,000 ($1.2M) less than full shareholders. The OFT will take between four and eight weeks to "decide whether there is any merit" in Thomas' request for investigation (INDEPENDENT, 3/28).