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One-on-one with Michael R. Yormark: Why Premiership model must change

The financial crisis and accompanying administrative issues of England’s Premiership are well documented.

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Just last week London Irish became the third club to file for administration, following their suspension from all club competitions over a failure to provide financial assurances.

The Rugby Football Union confirmed that neither the Exiles’ owner Mick Crossan nor the American consortium planning to buy the club could prove they had the finances to compete in the English Premiership for the 2023/24 campaign.

The Exiles are the third casualty of the financial crisis gripping the Premiership, which will now become a 10-team competition – following the collapses of Wasps and Worcester.

Crossan said the professional game in England “needs to be radically transformed”.

“The current leadership must urgently review its practices from top to bottom if it has the desire to see the professional game continue in England,” he added.

Irish have reported debts of around £30 million (US$37 million) and do not own their own stadium, instead playing at Premier League football club Brentford’s ground.

@king365ed sat down with Michael R. Yormark, President of Roc Nation Sports International, to unpack the financial challenges facing England’s Premiership competition.

“It’s a real challenge, it has been a challenging 12 months for them,” Yormark told @rugby365com, when asked about the financial status of the Premiership and whether it remains a good option for players.

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However, he said he remains a believer in the Premiership and the RFU.

“I believe, ultimately, they will get their house in order,” Yormark said.

“It has been unfortunate to see some of the teams go bankrupt.

“Now that there are [just] 10 teams in the Premiership, I think it also creates better opportunities – including match scheduling in conjunction with the international schedule.” with the international schedule.”

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He said the RFU and Premiership are working ‘very hard’ to create a business model that works – not just for them, but also for the players.

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“It is going to take some time to turn that ship around and get it in the right direction,” the Roc Nation boss told @rugby365com.

“However, the most important thing is that they identify that there has to be change.

“They have to modernise their structure. Also, the players have to be part of the process.”

Yormark said he has had lots of conversations with the ‘leadership’, because it was important they understood and saw things from a player-representative perspective.

“We represent some high-profile players in the Premiership,” he said about England internationals Ellis Genge, Maro Itoje and Marcus Smith.

“We want to make sure that the Premiership is as strong as it can be and hopefully one of the strongest leagues in the world.”

The priority is for the Premiership and RFU to ‘get their house in order’.

Yormark feels they are taking steps in the right direction.

“I ultimately believe they will get there. I applaud the fact that they understand there are issues, that they do need to change the way they do business and that the players do need to have a seat at the table.

“I am confident they will get where they need to be.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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