Sale of Premiership share distances Leeds from elite

Leeds Carnegie’s prolongued absence from rugby union’s top flight has resulted in them selling their Premiership share to Exeter Chiefs.

The Yorkshire club acquired the share – which entitles clubs to greater central funding – in the summer of 2010 after avoiding relegation and ensuring they would participate for an eighth season in the Aviva Premiership.

But after losing their top-flight status the following year, then failing to regain that via promotion last term, they were forced to sell their share to Exeter for an undisclosed sum of money.

They plan to put that money – thought to be a seven-figure sum – to one side to use to buy the share back if and when they win the right to retake their place in the Premiership.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “Reluctantly we have sold our Premiership Rugby P Shares to Exeter Chiefs.


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“There is a mechanism in place that means there can only ever be 13 P shareholders at any one time and only a team who has been in the Premiership for more than a year can make an offer to purchase those from a club who have been out of the Premiership for more than a year.

“Currently, only Exeter can purchase the shares and only ourselves and Bristol can sell them. The value of the shares is decided by an independent process using a formula that is clearly set out and we had no option but to be part of the process. However, all the proceeds from the sale will be ring fenced and kept until such time as we return to the top flight when the money will be used to buy back our P shares.

“Without the shareholding, it makes it extremely difficult to gain parity with the other teams in the Premiership and for our long term future we must retain the ability to buy back the P shares.”

On the pitch, head coach Diccon Edwards was bullish about the way forward for Leeds after they were thumped 53-10 by promotion-favourites Newcastle Falcons on Friday night.


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Such a result would suggest they will not be reclaiming their Premiership place this season, but Edwards said: “The players are hurting now, and rightly so.

“It’s not nice being on the end of a 50-point defeat but I know we will come together as a group to put things right and the challenge of the Doncaster game (Friday night) and the Yorkshire derby will be the right game for us. We want to get up for that game and we will put in a performance that shows what we are about.”

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw was more pleased with the performance than the margin of victory after his team crushed Argentina 54-15 to win the inaugural Rugby Championship in La Plata.

McCaw was thrilled with the way the world champions, unbeaten in eight Tests this year, went about their task.


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“The goal is to put last year behind us but we’ve got the tag of world champions and we want to play like that,” said the 31-year-old after achieving his 99th Test win.

Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick of tries to lead South Africa to an impressive 31-8 victory over Australia in Pretoria.