1. ITV Report

Billionaire begins application for majority stake in Gloucester Rugby

Mohed Altrad already owns 100% of Top 14 side Montpellier Photo: Simon Cooper/PA Archive/PA Images

European Professional Club Rugby has received an application for consent to purchase a majority stake in Gloucester Rugby. The request has been made by Mohed Altrad - the owner of Top 14 side Montpellier. EPCR confirmed the matter had been discussed at the most recent meeting of its Executive Committee.

Mohed Altrad purchased Montpellier in 2011 Credit: Icon Sport/MB Media/PA Images

EPCR is the governing body and organiser of two European rugby union club tournaments: the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup. With both clubs competing in European competition, there is the possibility the two sides could play each other. Consent for the acquisition has been sought by Mr Altrad because to have a controlling influence on two clubs participating in European club competition (Montpellier & Gloucester) would require consent from the unions concerned (in this case, the RFU and the FFR who are both shareholders and are represented on the EPCR Board) as well as from World Rugby and EPCR itself.

In response to the application Gloucester Rugby's CEO Stephen Vaughan confirmed talks had taken place and that the club were committed to an open process:

We have pledged to remain as frank and open with all our stakeholders as we possibly can on this matter.

Last week we confirmed that discussions had begun with Mr Altrad, but that any progress going forward was dependent on receiving approval from a number of relevant bodies.

The statement from EPCR confirms that they have received communication from ourselves, We will, of course, strive to keep interested parties up to speed with developments as soon as we are in a position to do so.

– Stephen Vaughn, CEO Gloucester Rugby

EPCR has written to the three organisations in question, asking for their clarified positions on the matter.

Gloucester currently lie 8th in the Premiership, Montpellier sit 2nd in the Top 14.