Following a thorough and detailed process, a Heads of Terms agreement has been signed today (Friday, 30th June) on a deal which will benefit all relevant stakeholders in the Welsh professional game.
The new deal will allow Dragons RFC to pursue a clear and long-term strategy and take ownership of Rodney Parade.
A new consortium – led by Chair David Buttress – is comprised of long-term, patient investors who are determined to build a successful future for the club.
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement to take the club into private ownership,” said Mr Buttress.
“This is a momentous day in our club’s history and the start of an exciting new chapter for us all at Rodney Parade and for rugby right across Gwent.
“It is an enormous responsibility to become custodians of this club. Our ambition is aligned with our supporters, and we will continue to build a true family club and work with local stakeholders to help deliver professional sport and sustainable long-term growth for the area.
“We thank Nigel Walker and his team at WRU, Malcolm Wall for his support and guidance and the consortium team for their unwavering commitment.
“A huge final thank you to all Dragons fans and partners, who make up the wider Dragons Family, for their incredible support. We look forward to working together with them and sharing more details in the coming months. I would now ask everybody to come together and get behind the club.”
The WRU stepped in to support the Dragons in the summer of 2017 as a temporary measure with the primary aim of ensuring four professional sides would be sustained in Wales.
But a new six-year Professional Rugby Agreement (PRA) is now in place, which is set to provide a financial framework for sustainability and success across the professional game in Wales, and private ownership of the Dragons was a prerequisite set by the PRB for this agreement.
“This is a landmark moment for the game in Wales,” said WRU chair Ieuan Evans.
“Credit must go to David and his fellow investors for their passion and commitment to Dragons RFC.
“This news today puts the Dragons in a strong position to thrive in the years ahead.”
WRU interim CEO Nigel Walker said:
“We know that these are difficult times for the professional game globally, but this is a hugely positive day for rugby in Newport and across Gwent, but also for the whole of Welsh rugby.
“The Dragons returning to private ownership was a vital piece in the jigsaw for our new long-term, six-year agreement for the professional game in Wales and to bring about the sustainability and success it demands.”
PRB chair, Malcolm Wall, said: “This is the very best news for the Dragons, for Newport, for Gwent but also for the whole of Welsh rugby.
“David and his fellow investors have come through for the Dragons, but they have also helped to safeguard the integrity of the competitions they play in.
“All parties involved, including those at the WRU who have worked long and hard on reaching this agreement, should be very proud.”
Incoming WRU chair Richard Collier-Keywood, who is due to take over from incumbent Ieuan Evans next month, added, “This is a moment for everyone in Welsh rugby to be proud of and I commend all those involved in reaching this agreement.
“We have reached a deal here that has been fashioned in the very best interests of all involved, which will see future sustainability and success at the Dragons and which will help secure the long-term future of the professional game in Wales.
“This is a day for celebration and optimism in Welsh rugby and we are grateful to all those who have helped us reach this point.”