Rugby: Rugby-New NZR chair Mitchell hopes to resolve Silver Lake issues


(Reuters) – The new chairman of New Zealand Rugby (NZR), Stewart Mitchell, said the governing body will talk to the players association and seek to resolve concerns about the proposed Silver Lake deal.

In April, 26 constituent provincial rugby unions approved the sale of a 12.5% stake in NZR’s commercial arm, including rights to the iconic All Blacks, to U.S. firm Silver Lake in a deal worth NZ$387.5 million ($281.98 million).

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA), whose approval is required, oppose the deal and have counter-proposed the sale of a 5% stake through an initial public offering in the New Zealand stock market.

Mitchell, who took over from Brent Impey, said following his appointment on Monday that he was committed to connecting with players at a “person level” as they continue discussions.

“I think I will make my own judgements as we go forward,” Mitchell was quoted as saying by news website Stuff. “Having said that, I think we have pretty much all of New Zealand Rugby in agreement with the Silver Lake deal and what it can offer.

“But we will talk to these guys (the players’ association). I will continue to talk to them and get involved. We will find an answer. We have to — for the whole of rugby.”

The All Blacks are New Zealand’s best-known sports team and many in the rugby-mad country have expressed concern that even a small part of the side might come under foreign control.

($1 = 1.3742 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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