Private investors granted licences to run Canterbury Crusaders and Wellington Hurricanes

Last Updated: 12/11/12 9:10am

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The New Zealand Rugby Union has granted licences to private investors to run the Canterbury Crusaders and Wellington Hurricanes.

NZRU chairman Steve Tew revealed a joint-ownership deal has already been struck for the Hurricanes licence and a similar arrangement is expected to be finalised for seven-time Super Rugby champions the Crusaders within a month.

As part of the Wellington sell-off, existing owner the Wellington Rugby Football Union will jointly run the team with a business consortium that includes investors linked to the Wellington Phoenix A-League football club.

The NZRU, which is eager to improve its finances, did not disclose how much the consortium paid for a 50 percent stake in the Hurricanes licence until 2016 and the option for a five-year renewal after that.

Expressions of interest were invited by the NZRU last December in four of the country's five Super Rugby teams - the Otago Highlanders were not included - but no deals were finalised in time for the 2013 season for the Auckland Blues and Waikato Chiefs.

NZRU chairman Steve Tew said: "These new arrangements are a step forward in terms of putting Super Rugby on a stronger financial footing to ensure the game at the professional level is better placed to prosper and deliver for its fans."

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