Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rugby union re-structuring

Plans for a Rugby Union championship gaining momentum

"Members of the Rugby Football Union's council have backed setting up a new professional 12-team Championship to replace National League One.

Earlier the umbrella body for National League One clubs, First Division Rugby, had called the prospect of the new championship "financial suicide".

But six League One clubs subsequently gave the proposal their support.

The RFU said the vote to support the formation of a new competition was carried by an "overwhelming majority".

Coventry, Doncaster, Exeter, London Welsh, Nottingham and Plymouth Albion were the teams who sent a memo to the RFU council urging them to vote in the change.

It concluded: "We sincerely request your support in moving the development of level two rugby into the professional era without further delay."

The RFU believe the Championship is "the way forward" for English rugby, but FDR chairman Geoff Irvine responded by stating he was "amazed" the RFU had made the memo public "on behalf of a minority group of six clubs".

Under the RFU's plans, the leading Division One sides this season would become Championship founder members - if they agree to turn professional.

Interesting developments...I'd hope this will see a stronger higher profile set of teams for the various under-represented regions whilst reducing travelling costs and stabilising the lower tiers. That REALLY needs doing. Waterloo are really struggling this season...all these trips to the south west are proving a huge millstone.

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