World Rugby Handbook
REGULATION 14. OWNERSHIP OF CLUBS
14.1 No individual, body corporate, partnership, trust or any other entity (“Entity”) may directly or indirectly own or control more than one Club except with the prior written consent of the Union concerned, or where Clubs from different Unions are involved, the written consent of the Unions concerned and World Rugby.
14.2 An Entity will be deemed to be indirectly owning or controlling a Club if:
14.2.1 it owns or controls an Entity which directly or indirectly owns or controls a Club (irrespective of the number of Entities interposed between the two); or
14.2.2 pursuant to an agreement or understanding (whether formal or informal) an Entity co-operates with another to obtain or secure control of a Club;
14.2.3 a connected person of an Entity owns or controls a Club. The term “connected person” is to be construed widely, but will include the following (which is a non-exhaustive list);
(a) In the case of an individual, that individual’s wife, husband or other relative.
(b) Any Entities involved together in a trust, whether as trustee, settler or beneficiary.
(c) Any Entity involved in partnership together (in any business) with the entity which owns or controls a Club.
(d) A company is connected with another company if it holds any interest in the shares of that other company or the same Entity or any person connected to that Entity has control of both companies.
(e) A company is connected with another person if that person is an officer, employee or shareholder with 5 per cent, or more, of the Authorised Share Capital of the company or is connected to an officer, employee or such shareholder of the company.
(f) Any two or more persons acting together to secure or exercise control of a Club shall be treated as being connected with one another.
14.2.4 For the purpose of this Regulation 14, indirect ownership or control shall be widely construed.
14.3 For the purpose of this Regulation 14, “control” means the ability of an Entity, by whatever means, to secure that the affairs of a Club are or could be conducted or influenced in accordance with that Entity’s wishes.
14.4 For the purpose of this Regulation 14, “ownership” includes (without limitation) the holding of any number or class of shares in a company which owns the assets of a Club where those shares entitle the holder to participate in more than 50% of any dividend declared (in the relevant class if applicable) or to more than 50% of the company’s assets on a winding up.
14.5 This Regulation 14 shall be interpreted broadly to give effect to the underlying intention that no Entity or group of Entities, acting alone or in concert, shall control, or be in a position to control, either directly or indirectly, more than one Club.
14.6 Subject to obtaining the consent of the Union concerned or World Rugby, as provided for in Regulation 14.1, this Regulation 14 shall not prohibit the temporary ownership of more than one Club which arises out of the bona fide merger of two or more Clubs, provided that the ownership of more than one Club does not extend beyond three months.