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Crusaders secure their future with perpetual licence to operate

Richie Mo'unga led the Crusaders to a semi-final victory over the Hurricanes in a thrilling Super Rugby match at AMI Stadium, Christchurch

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 29: Richie Mo’unga and Jack Goodhue of the Crusaders celebrate the win during the Super Rugby Semi Final between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes at Orangetheory Stadium on June 29, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Crusaders Super rugby team have secured their future in Super Rugby with confirmation today that they have signed a new competition licence with New Zealand Rugby (NZR), which will see the club operate in perpetuity.

Previously, the licence for the club to operate and compete in Super Rugby has been negotiated with NZR every few years, to coincide with the broadcast cycle.

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Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said: “The renegotiation of our licence agreement is a significant step by the Crusaders and New Zealand Rugby, in setting our club up for long-term success.

“Rugby, like many other businesses, faces ongoing challenges as a result of COVID-19 and the ability for us to better organise ourselves with a more sustainable financial model going forward, and a view to our long-term future, is imperative.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the Crusaders plans, the 2020 Aratipu Review provided a number of key recommendations for the future model of Super Rugby in New Zealand. It included recommendations aimed at ensuring the financial sustainability of clubs, and driving the commercial growth of the game.

“Super Rugby Aotearoa is a product we can all be proud of, and we’ll continue to work closely with New Zealand Rugby to help deliver a competition that challenges and inspires our players, and engages new and existing rugby fans around the world,” Mansbridge said.

“At the Crusaders, we are confident in our ability to participate, and thrive, in the global game and this licence agreement allows us greater scope to be open to those opportunities. This is a natural progression of our brand and a considerable step towards realising our global ambition.”

The Crusaders have also engaged independent financial advisor, PwC, to undertake a capital review of the club. PwC has led a process with the Crusaders and its shareholders, to evaluate what capital is required to participate in the Super Rugby competition, which is a requirement of the perpetual licence with NZR.

The review has also considered what additional capital may be required to realise the club’s long-term strategic ambitions. These developments signify an exciting juncture in the club’s journey.

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