Clubs keen on Premiership expansion

Tue, 27 Apr 11:02:23 2010

English rugby's elite division, the Guinness Premiership, could be poised to expand from 12 to 14 teams.

According to Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premier Rugby, the 12 current top-tier sides expressed a desire make the move at a recent series of meetings between club owners and chief executives in order to help grow the game.

"There was a general consensus that we should look properly at expanding to 14 teams," McCafferty, whose body represents the 12 clubs, was quoted as saying in The Sunday Telegraph.

"In 2012 we hope to secure a big increase in TV revenue, which will remove some of the obstacles to expansion where people are worried they will get less money because there would be 14 mouths to feed rather than 12.

"My view is that we can solve the financial issues and get the jam, if you like, spread thickly enough for everyone to be happy."

Other proposals reportedly include scrapping the Anglo-Welsh Cup and, controversially, halting promotion and relegation for a period.

McCaffery said: "We are exploring all the issues but we are conscious of the need to protect the integrity of the competition.

"By going up to 14 teams you increase the number of games that overlap with internationals and therefore you have more occasions when elite players are absent from their clubs.

"There is also a choice to be made between having two competitions - an expanded Premiership and Europe - or retaining the Anglo-Welsh Cup, which provides breathing space and offers a chance to test different players."

 

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