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Premiership/RFU stitch up
Discussion started by Charlestown Pirate , 11 February, 2020 21:33
Premiership/RFU stitch up
Charlestown Pirate 11 February, 2020 21:33

Not sure if anyone has seen that yet, looks like its just out. Reads like a bit of a stitch up!! I havent got subscription to the telegraph so could only read the first couple of paragraphs....

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
AdminBTCov 11 February, 2020 22:25
It's in the Grauniad too. Readable there! []

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 11 February, 2020 23:04
If its true the RFU has shafted the future of Rugby.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Mrs Woll 12 February, 2020 08:15
This is truly shameful and self serving!

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Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
old prop steve 12 February, 2020 08:28
Should the Championship clubs now announce and enforce their own salary cap of circa £1m with which the Saracens (or indeed anyone else being relegated) has to comply or simply be relegated yet again? Might it also help prevent another Yorkshire Carnegie or London Welsh fiasco? The League would certainly become more competitive which was the sole aim of PRL in applying it to the Premiership,

Given all the outpouring of pious words from the other PRL clubs and the media in general there will never be a better time to do it.

Obviously there could be some downsides but what do others think?

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Aberavon Wizard 12 February, 2020 09:18
Personally I think the whole situation stinks. There has to be room for clubs like Pirates and Ealing to dream and given the right circumstances achieve that goal of Premership rugby. FWIW I believe that two clubs should face relegation from the top tier this season, Saracens and the bottom club of the remaining teams. There should be fixed period concessions for promoted teams for ground capacity and facilities to give the, a chance to build a squad capable in the first instance of survival.

Good fortune for the rest of the season

Franklins Gardens

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
*Stalwart 12 February, 2020 10:44
RFU are not fit for purpose. Let's join the Pro 12.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Barv Du 12 February, 2020 12:12
I have said it for a very long time - The RFU is a complete waste of space. The sooner the progressive Championship clubs get together and find an alternative to the status quo, the better. If the RFU don't like it - tough.
I must admit though, this really has come as no surprise. The total lack of interest in the Championship has been present for years - just see how no thought has ever been given to finding a proper cup competition, just to mention one thing. It's time to get the thinking heads together amongst the Championship clubs, search for an independent sponsor and cut all ties with the RFU.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Porthusek Pirate 12 February, 2020 12:22
It's rare that rugby is in a position where it can learn from footbal but this is a good example of where it should.

Shockingly backward thinking in this day and age.

The RFU ought to look (well the are quite clearly aware of course) at how the FA run the, ever so slightly successful, English Football Premiership.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Barv Du 12 February, 2020 14:10
Replying to Old Prop Steve. I wrote to the RFU a month or more ago at the height of the Saracens' debacle regarding the introduction of a salary cap for teams coming down to the Championship from the Premiership, but true to form, I have not received any reply.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Wino 12 February, 2020 14:19
Given that Tribute is one of Pirates main sponsors, perhaps the RFU blazers could be invited down to St Austell to organise a party, or not, as the case may be.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Geoff DC 12 February, 2020 15:32
Statement on behalf of Cornish Pirates and Coventry Rugby

The owners and senior managers of the Cornish Pirates and Coventry Rugby have issued the following response to the RFU’s halving of central funding to the Championship clubs for the 2020/21 season.

Continues >>>

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
wigston pirate 12 February, 2020 16:22
The RFU pushed Championship clubs to have full time players which many did comply with. Then after many years eventually found a sponsor Greene King and did it take many years. Very little TV coverage of lower league matches, no finals at Twickenham where we came away with a trophy and what an atmosphere. I believe the RFU could shoot themselves in the foot regarding there decision and start a breakaway from them and other teams below PRL. I am fuming the richest RFU and making a bloody lash up.

Where will all the PRL players come from at grassroots level in the future and represent their country less they work around southern hemisphere players. They should all clear off without any payment but no doubt if they did there would be something set aside to ensure they can have a payoff and still have privileged seats at their HQ.



Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 12 February, 2020 19:19
Although I had little faith in the RFU regarding their ability to govern the game below the elite level I was always prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. Well this decision and particularly the timing and content of the press release has shown how right those who questioned the RFU were right to do so.
If you look back over the history of the championship we have had the Rob Andrew era, where clubs were encouraged with promises of funding and sponsorship to commit to turning full time.
Even the most recent review by Nigel Melville focused on young English Qualified Players without any mention of a reduction in funding or that the clubs were failing to meet any previously agreed criteria.
Fast forward to 2020 and it would appear that a new CEO at the RFU has determined that the championship should bear the brunt of any cutbacks to help close the gap in RFU finances.
A CEO who has no previous rugby experience and been in post a matter of months.
He quotes " “The decision taken in 2015 to increase Championship funding significantly was against a set of objectives and deliverables that we do not believe have been achieved."
Yet I cannot find what these objectives were and where is evidence of the alleged failure?
The RFU promote RESPECT as one of their core values, where is the respect shown to the championship clubs or the transparency in this decision making process?
This decision was revealed yesterday to the clubs, no discussion, no opportunity to question the decision or offer alternative solutions and no consideration to phase in any cuts over a 2-3 year period.
This decision is short sighted but will have a long term impact on the game.
The RFU have failed the championship on many levels through the lack of long term funding plan,sponsorship and a clear vision of the future of the game at a professional level.
I have said for many years that IF the RFU and PRL were truly working together for the benefit of young EQP and the game in general then all RFU academies would be sited at championship clubs and not in the premiership. The championship is an ideal level for many of these young players to learn their trade.
Will it happen?
No, because the premiership clubs know the value of the academies and as they also employ players at the elite level then they hold all the cards.
I am no doubt that their has been collusion between PRL and RFU and this is the starting point for 'ring fencing' by other means.
I hope this decision is challenged by all championship clubs and they explore every available option including any possible legal challenge.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
chenoweth 12 February, 2020 19:41
I will not be going to watch England play again.
This RFU management team is completely ignorant and has no empathy for competition within the leagues. They must be sent a message by us the supporters, that message must say you!!! are the problem and certainly not those who aspire to improve both their clubs, players and league status.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 12 February, 2020 20:10
Ex-Pirates prop Jamal Ford-Robinson shows his support for the championship.
'Nail in the coffin' for Championship

Gloucester prop Jamal Ford-Robinson has criticised the RFU’s decision to cut the level of funding for Championship clubs.

Ford-Robinson played for Cornish Pirates early in his career before going on to play for Bristol and helping them win promotion to the Premiership from English rugby’s second tier.

The 26-year-old, who represented England against the Barbarians in 2017, said on Twitter: “The Championship provided the platform that myself and many others needed in order to reach the Premiership.

“While this decision doesn't completely destroy the Champ, it's definitely a nail in the coffin. Can't help but think this decision is incredibly short-sighted.”

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Porthusek Pirate 12 February, 2020 20:26
So when it comes down to it, does the announcement amount to one word?


Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 12 February, 2020 20:29
Championship clubs are now making the feeling known, here is a part of the media release from Jersey chairman Mark Morgan
“Championship clubs have been trying for months to get clarity around funding following the end of the current funding agreement this summer. To be presented with this fait accompli when teams are already hiring for next season is immoral and irresponsible.

There has been zero consultation, engagement, nor explanation before the announcement and no vision for the future of the Championship was provided. With Bill Sweeney’s heralded business background, this is astonishingly poor execution.

The RFU has talked about ‘missed objectives’. I have attended every Championship meeting at Twickenham over the past 4 years but do not recall this ever being raised by RFU.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2020 20:34 by Pirate15.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Kenwyn. 12 February, 2020 20:51
How about T shirts that both teams wear for warming up when we are featured on Sky #novision

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 13 February, 2020 09:34
In a Guardian article yesterday new RFU directors Sweeney and Coner O,Shea are taking the brunt of the criticism for this mess. No surprise O,Shea did a poor job with the Italian National side. Time to Boycott purchasing any goods from the RFU shop.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Barv Du 13 February, 2020 10:09
Pirate 15 has hit the nail firmly and squarely on the head and has summed up EXACTLY the totally disinterested attitude of the RFU towards the Championship since its inception. Ably abetted by PRL, this latest in a string of 'behind closed doors' decisions says it all. Quoting Pirate 15 - 'This decision is short sighted but will have a long term impact on the game', I would alter this to read: 'This decision is short sighted but will have a long term impact on the RFU'!

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
welshpirate 13 February, 2020 11:35
Suggest that we develop players then sell them to the Premiership rather than give them to them in future. Why didn't clubs like Exeter, Bristol and Worcester stick up for us when this was all going on?

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 13 February, 2020 13:16
Article on Guardian Online Sport today titled "Life in Rugby Union Championship" by Will Hooley Bedford player. Headline photograph is Mennaye. Worth a read.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
welshpirate 13 February, 2020 13:57
Really, really hope we and Ealing beat Newcastle just to make them sweat if nothing else, it would be nice if Toby Flood was playing.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
wigston pirate 13 February, 2020 15:00
Agree with WP if this can motivate Pirates and Ealing to really hit Falcons and possibly knock them off top spot. Difficult but possible.


Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 13 February, 2020 17:56
In an interview earlier today with Radio Cornwall Pirates chairman Paul Durkin confirmed that the championship clubs were informed by email at 8am on Tuesday. He was in London for a meeting of the championship clubs which the RFU CEO Bill Sweeney and Connor O'Shea was attending in the afternoon. The objectives mentioned by the RFU were an internal measurement used by them to justify the increased funding but have never been circulated to the clubs as any form of performance indicator.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Wino 13 February, 2020 18:00
Not only is the RFU treating Championship clubs with utter contempt but also rugby supporters who support clubs from outside the Premierdhip. I, for one, now intend to treat the RFU with equal contempt. I will also support the Pirates’ management in whatever it chooses to do in response to this outrageous behaviour by the RFU.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Gray_Lensman 14 February, 2020 15:50
None of the Championship clubs made a peep when funding to lower tiers was cut. But suddenly up in arms when it is them. And they call PRL hypocrites.

Everyone knew when the current funding round is due to end and yet the Championship seems to have made no provision for any other outcome than, at worst, maintenance of the current payments. Even a cursory knowledge of the state of the RFU's finances might have given a clue that a reduction was possible. Look at the stick Leedshire copped for giving multi-year contracts on the basis that they'd get an injection of cash. How is this situation different except that the Championship actually knew when the financial climate would change. This 'outrage' is largely spin by clubs who either willfully closed their eyes or acted out of ignorance. Neither are good. It's not all down to the RFU.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 14 February, 2020 16:35
The cutback of funding is 100% the fault of the RFU Board. They have overseen the mismanagement of the multi million overspend of the construction of the East Stand. The situation compounded by ballooning budget of running the England Team. The RFU Board has cheated on the Championship Clubs and Fans. They should all tender their resignations otherwise the situation will deteriorate further damaging the sport.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 14 February, 2020 18:20
Without wanting to enter into a slanging match with you Gray_Lensman I think you have a rather jaundiced view. ALL the championship clubs were of the opinion and I believe were led to believe that there was likely to to be a funding cut but at around 10% not 50%. The real wrath is the way the clubs were informed of it by the RFU and at such short notice - by e-mail just hours before a meeting, seems to me as if the RFU had an afterthought and realised they hadn't sent the clubs the required info, they certainly didn't realise or care about the way ALL clubs go about the following seasons planning, ie: recruitment etc. Or maybe they didn't want them to know until the last minute therefore not giving the clubs time to ask awkward questions at the meeting that same day!!! Either way it's a disgusting way to do business and a complete disregard for the Championship as a whole in the clubs individually. Most if not all the cham clubs do massive amounts of community work, getting other clubs involved with the structure, raising funds for various rugby related causes etc etc. As for the so called Leedshire debacle that was purely of their own making and absolutely nothing to do in any way with clubs in the championship, the only stick they got (and rightly in my opinion) was from their own fans and fans outside the club and not from other clubs themselves. The RFU deserve every criticism levelled at them in my opinion and the way in which the Championship has been disregarded over the years by the RFU is abysmal. Time to drain the swamp of the blazered idiots at HQ. Lastly what also needs to be remembered is the RFU set out a few years ago (5 maybe) to make the championship a full time professional and fully integrated part of the national set up, hoping to make it a breeding ground for English Qualified Players to learn their trade, in that respect the championship has delivered in bundles , now because the PRL and outside influences (CVC maybe) have exerted pressure they have crumbled and gone for greed.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 14 February, 2020 19:10
The Pirates were one club involved in producing a document " RFU Championship Blueprint" outlining their vision for the future of the championship. This was submitted to the RFU on 7th December and was clearly an attempt to open up a dialogue with the RFU but the response has been "nothing".
No reply, no attempt to engage with the clubs or enter into any discussions. This is an organisation that promotes core values such as 'RESPECT' but who clearly have no respect for the work done by the championship clubs.
The lack of communication before an email was sent out on Tuesday is deplorable and quite rightly has been heavily criticised.
IF it was their intention to deliver cuts why not contact the clubs or call them to a meeting and tell them 'face to face'.
The new CEO Bill Sweeney is from a business background and he would know what the implications of these cuts will mean. IF he doesn't understand how these things work in the rugby world his sidekick Connor O'Shea certainly does.
Was any consideration given to phase these cuts in thereby giving the clubs an opportunity to look at future budgets over the next couple of years rather than months.
It appears that the championship are being seen as an easy target to save a few million. The RFU are losing money and have gone over budget on the building of the East stand and the funding of Eddie Jones elite squad. These overspends are not the fault of the championship or any other club.
The blame lies with the RFU who can still send a coach load of 'blazers' to Murrayfield last weekend no doubt at the expense of the union.
As a Bristol fan I would have expected more empathy from a club who has had recent experience of the championship and has benefited from the recruitment of many players developed at this level.
A badly funded championship will weaken the game at the top level and will harm the development of players and coaches at all levels.
I expect complete silence from premiership clubs when your 50% reduction is announced in due course.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Gray_Lensman 15 February, 2020 08:08
Don't get me wrong, the RFU have never had a clue about what it wants from the Championship and as a direct consequence has never known how to run it either. The manner in which clubs were informed may seem high-handed but its something of a red herring when faced with the real issue.

As a Bristol supporter I obviously have had recent (and far too long!) exposure to the Championship. My opinion throughout was that collectively it was terribly run. It had no web presence, nothing on social media, relied on the RFU for marketing and media. There seemed little or no strategy as a group. That's not to say individual clubs didn't.

Clearly the RFU control the purse strings here and are responsible for their own financial mismanagement. But given that the financial situation is well known and that cuts have been made in other areas of the game the Championship had a duty to to make realistic plans for the new funding round that included several scenarios. All the evidence suggests that it didn't. The recently circulated document has some nice pictures but in terms of anything concrete or even realistic it is severely lacking and in my view amounts to little more than a few things to think about. Well, the thinking should have been done already.

The scale of the proposed cuts (and let's see what finally happens as this might just be an opening offer in a negotiation) may have been a surprise to supporters but shouldn't have been to a well run organisation. Sadly neither the RFU or the Championship are particularly well run.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 15 February, 2020 08:49
Good article by Robert Kitson in Guardian Online. Critical of RFU and the Pirates and Stadium mentioned.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Wino 15 February, 2020 11:30
It’s not very edifying when supporters of clubs recently in the championship are content to pull up the drawbridge once they have made it to the Premiership with the backing of their billionaire owner. Perhaps they should reflect that competition is the lifeblood of sport. Take that away (through ring fencing for example) and you are not left with much of a spectacle. Be careful what you wish for.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 15 February, 2020 11:41
My opinion throughout was that collectively it was terribly run. It had no web presence, nothing on social media, relied on the RFU for marketing and media.
Clearly the RFU control the purse strings here and are responsible for their own financial mismanagement. But given that the financial situation is well known and that cuts have been made in other areas of the game the Championship had a duty to to make realistic plans for the new funding round that included several scenarios. All the evidence suggests that it didn't.
This covered in the pirates response " The Championship is an RFU tournament, meaning that the clubs do not control the league’s sponsorship rights; these are held by Twickenham. But over the last few years we have received no Championship-specific sponsorship funding, no Championship-specific TV broadcast deal, or any promotion by Twickenham of the community work which is being done by our clubs, such as wheelchair rugby, suicide prevention, and helping older people with dementia, and could also suffer as a result of these cuts."
" The blueprint document passed to the RFU should have been the opening point for discussion regarding the future of the championship" instead it was ignored, clearly the decision for these cuts had already been made but no communicated to the clubs until the 11th hour.
I can't imagine the premiership clubs accepting being disregarded in this manner.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 15 February, 2020 17:31
I don't think it would have been so bad had the RFU given notice in advance such as a season. Thus giving clubs preparation time to get this sorted instead of a few weeks and at a time when recruitment is well under way for next season. You don't do business like this - which suggests to me the RFU are hand in glove with the PRL and really don't care about the second tier. The actual answers given by Sweeney in an interview about the funding changes is nothing more than contempt. How are clubs meant to be able to plan for the future when the rug is not only pulled from under them but at such short notice.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 15 February, 2020 18:19
Its worth listening to the Sky Sports interview with RFU CEO Bill Sweeney, he appears to have an issue with 3 of the performance set by the RFU as part of the agreement reached in 2015 but not communicated to the clubs!
(1)The championship clubs were expected to become more financially viable. This has not been helped by the RFU's failure to attract a meaningful sponsorship for the league or cup competitions something which they have sole responsibility.
(2) The gap between the premiership and championship should narrow but that hasn't happened. Maybe off the field that may be the case mainly due to their failure above. On the field I would suggest that he has a look at the results over the last 5 years compared to 10 years ago and he will see that in many instances the gap has narrowed.
(3) The championship was meant to be the main player pathway for the development of players and that is no longer the case. He tries to evidence this by stating that 93% of the current England U-20s are playing in National One. I would suggest that is because the championship in recent years has improved particularly in the physicality and these young players would not survive playing at this level week in and week out.
An interviewer who had a good grasp of the championship would have punched holes in the majority of his reasons for trying to justify these cuts

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
tomthepom 15 February, 2020 21:44
Oh bore off back to Bristol Gray_Lensman! Responded in detail to another Bristolian troll on RM yesterday, not going to waste my time doing so again...

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
artee 16 February, 2020 13:11
Open Letter from President Steve Lloyd to the RFU

16th February 2020
Open Letter from the Executive of the Championship Clubs Committee (CCC) to Bill Sweeney, CEO of the Rugby Football Union to be shared with the Board of the RFU


Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Longrockerz1 16 February, 2020 14:04
Well said Steve Lloyd. Not that the RFU will listen, unfortunately "there are none so deaf as those who do not want to hear" !!!

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
*Stalwart 16 February, 2020 14:15
Great letter. It seems that the RFU simply have no understanding of their own game and the clubs they are supposed to represent. The "criteria" on which they have based their decision are clearly a list of meaningless goals which they failed to communicate with the Championship clubs and which most Premiership clubs would fail to meet.
The fact that they haven't kept in touch with clubs and told them that they were failing to meet some of these criteria seems to me to indicate that they didn't want the clubs to succeed in achieving these goals, then they had an excuse to cut their funding.
Completely dishonest, inept and amateurish.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16/02/2020 14:18 by *Stalwart.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 16 February, 2020 14:22
Excellent letter from the Doncaster President , without being nasty or having a knee jerk reaction has put Mr Sweeney and his fellow board members firmly in their place. Well worth reading.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 16 February, 2020 17:16
One good thing that could come out of this mess is its perhaps the beginning of the end of the RFU control at Twickenham. This fiasco has shown the Board are not fit for purpose.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
artee 16 February, 2020 17:37
Reminder - On 6th March 2017 RFU agree to boost funding in return for scrapping play-offs

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 17 February, 2020 16:02
Am I the only one who finds the silence coming out of the premiership clubs depressing for the future of the professional game?
There are a number of clubs who have developed a good working relationship on a playing level through D/R with clubs in the premiership but clearly that appears to be not the case at boardroom level.
If these clubs are genuinely concerned for the future of the professional game it would go along way towards reversing this terrible decision if they came out in support of the championship.
Their silence demonstrates to me that they are complicit with the RFU in this decision and are happy for them to be seen publicly as the bad guys.
If this is the case then it is very worrying that the so called governing body of the sport is allowing itself to be used in this manner to effectively 'ring fence' the premiership.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 17 February, 2020 22:12
P15. The PRL and the clubs they control are ALL governed by greed and not much else. They now have a huge sponsorship deal with CVC and I suspect this is the swaying factor and why 20,000 member clubs from the Championship down are being cut adrift by the RFU who are now bowing to commercial pressure. I can see a future (unless the RFU suddenly see sense) where anyone from the Prem down will divorce themselves and start a RFU style league of their own as per the FA with proper relegation and promotion from the very grass roots with defined pathways to the top and all encompassing competitions. The RFU are of the opinion that they are god in all matters rugby where in fact they are no more than a members organisation who oversee and administrates rugby in England and all of that can be taken away by it's membership!!!!

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
DaveyP 18 February, 2020 11:51

I'm a bit of a mixture of a Saracens fan (from my youth) and a Plymouth Albion fan (from my current location!)

I was wondering what the appetite was for a protest at Twickenham (I like the concept of the applause but it's risky as the RFU tends to only promote the international product and in my experience there are many supporters who aren't wonderfully interested in the grass roots of the game).

A march and a standing protest outside of the stadium perhaps? If the idea has traction I'd suggest it's even worth the club putting on coaches and building an event around it?

I would certainly consider travelling to it?



Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 18 February, 2020 16:39
Nottingham chairman Alistair Bow has published an open letter to the rugby community regarding the RFU funding decision which has been published on the clubs website. It is directed at the RFU board and asks are the RFU for the many or the few? The RFU must have realised by now that this has been a PR disaster for them going by comments in the media from journalists,fans and many players past and present who have played in the championship
My concern is that according to Alistair Bow, RFU CEO Bill Sweeney sat there cold, stone faced, showing no emotion and he was left with the feeling that this decision was made months ago. If that assumption is correct, who made that decision and why has it only now been communicated to the clubs?
Was it down to Bill Sweeney acting alone,a RFU committee and were PRL involved?
No doubt the championship clubs are in communication deciding on what course of action they will collectively take to challenge/change this decision.
I'm sure far greater minds than mine are going through all available options but is there anything more that we can do to make the RFU realise that this decision is wrong.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 18 February, 2020 18:39
Nick Cain of the rugby paper doesn't hold back in last weekends article and has uncovered some information worthy of note involving the main players linking the RFU,PRL and their new investors CVC.
He explains the link between the main players;
"THE only conclusion that can be drawn from the cynical slashing of Championship funding by Bill Sweeney, is that instead of being the governing body of the whole game in England, the RFU have turned into a rotten borough.

It has become the supine vassal of the Premiership clubs, doing their bidding irrespective of the damage it does to the rest of the game.

Twickenham have even supplied the Premiership with their chairman, Ian Ritchie, who went straight from one vast pay packet as RFU chief executive to a new post with the club cartel.

Ritchie and the Premiership’s former chief executive, Mark McCafferty, who now works for CVC, the venture capitalists who acquired a 27 per cent stake in the Premiership last year, have long been supporters of ring-fencing.

This week a plan to deliver it came into plain sight with RFU hatchet man Sweeney attempting to chop down the Championship, the main tree that keeps the canopy of the RFU’s own league structure alive."
The clubs response so far;
The Championship clubs have called for a two-year moratorium on the cuts. They have a strong case given that the mid-term review of the RFU’s £228m deal with the Premiership is due in June. If there are cuts to be made, surely they should be shared by the Premiership clubs?

It is unlikely the Premiership clubs will see it that way. That is why this gentlemanly Championship response is mistaken.
He believes that the championship clubs should do the following;
A starting point would be to canvas the rank-and-file clubs with a view to holding an immediate SGM calling for a no-confidence vote in the current RFU administration.

The Championship clubs should also take advice on legal proceedings to challenge the RFU’s financial arrangements with a Premiership cartel which has relied on restraint of trade protectionism and funding inequality to deny other clubs with professional ambitions the right to compete in English rugby’s top league.

It is time for the Championship clubs, and the National League and community clubs, to stand their ground and demand an RFU that protects their interests.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
welshpirate 18 February, 2020 19:11
Agree, these people are selfish, self serving and without shame. It's pointless to get mad with them, time to get even instead.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
old prop steve 18 February, 2020 22:30
Certainly agree that there should be a response from not only the Championship but from many of the hundreds of clubs below who must be even more disgusted by this ongoing satanic pact between the PRL and the RFU which has now become totally ridiculous. All those clubs get no funding at all. A year or two back the RFU tried the same thing with women's rugby until there was such a stink in the media that they did an about turn.

Perhaps some clubs should get their MP's to raise their concerns about the RFU's malignant stewardship of the sport in the House of Commons. After all they supposed to be the guardians of the sport!

Who knows - it might provoke a Select Enquiry which might just make a few of the laptop layabouts at Twickenham actually wake up and smell the coffee?.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Wino 19 February, 2020 08:06
I wouldn’t hold your breath,Steve. A few VIP ticket packages at Twickers go a long way.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 19 February, 2020 10:56
What the RFU need to remember is simply put they exist only as a governing body and admin centre owned by the member clubs. It must be that (legal guidance needed here perhaps) the membership as a whole can dissolve this cartel and reform it under a new and infinitely better run organisation.
" The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is the governing body for rugby union in England. It was founded in 1871, and was the sport's international governing body prior to the formation of what is now known as World Rugby (WR) in 1886. It promotes and runs the sport, organises international matches for the England national team, and educates and trains players and officials.

The RFU is an industrial and provident society owned by over 2,000 member clubs,[2] representing over 2.5 million registered players,[3] and forms the largest rugby union society in the world, and one of the largest sports organisations in England. It is based at Twickenham Stadium, London."

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Surrey Pirate 19 February, 2020 16:17
I'm a bit of a mixture of a Saracens fan (from my youth) and a Plymouth Albion fan (from my current location!)

I was wondering what the appetite was for a protest at Twickenham (I like the concept of the applause but it's risky as the RFU tends to only promote the international product and in my experience there are many supporters who aren't wonderfully interested in the grass roots of the game).

A march and a standing protest outside of the stadium perhaps? If the idea has traction I'd suggest it's even worth the club putting on coaches and building an event around it?

I would certainly consider travelling to it?


I think the only way the RFU could possibly change their mind is to be publicly embarrassed by the rugby community, therefore a march on Twickenham and standing outside the RFU offices there is one way of doing it, but it would need to be properly organised with good numbers or else it would probably do more harm than good.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
artee 20 February, 2020 10:51
The latest from Bill Sweeney on cutting the funding for Championship clubs


Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
*Stalwart 20 February, 2020 13:58
Backing off little bit, but still banging on about the benefits they get from the Championship are not sufficient.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Wino 20 February, 2020 14:24
I just hope that Championship clubs and supporters don’t get lured in by the con trick of RFU backing down a little so that they can say “we compromised so now it’s your turn”.

Premiership clubs have had their millions from CVC and also want to maintain all the millions from RFU - all at the expense of the Championship and other clubs lower down the food chain.

As someone said above, greed, greed, greed. If Sweeney cares as much about the game as he claims, perhaps he could take a pay cut. Thought not.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 20 February, 2020 18:03
Chairman Paul Durkin has been interviewed on radio Cornwall and confirmed that the pirates will be staying full time, all contracts will be honoured but these cuts will effect future recruitment and squad size.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 20 February, 2020 18:21
There are three mini statements from Mr Sweeney in interview this morning.
1"We're looking at phasing that reduction over a longer period, over two years," Sweeney told the BBC. - In other words they are going ahead anyway so as far as they are concerned no change and those words are designed to make him look as if he's giving ground and to save face.
2.: "We have gone to them and said 'look, we can reschedule these cuts over a period of two years, and work with you in terms of how to how to manage that situation'. - As above no change!! We need to keep the heat on him constantly and force him and his cohorts to give ground and start again. BTW, who are them? He can't even give the championship the courtesy of calling them by name, how arrogant and rude.
3."The other thing we (the RFU) said is 'let's sit down and work together as a group and figure out what is the role of the Championship'. - Perhaps Mr Sweeney you might have done that first and checked the RFUs own spiel from a few years ago when the vision for the Championship was given!! This is no more than a face saving answer and has no value at all. For me all Mr Sweeney has done is throw up a smokescreen with no actual change whatsoever other than have this drawn out over two years instead of one. Simply put the RFU has sold out to the PRL and their CVC investors and in doing so will destroy rugby as it exists today.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
1spy 21 February, 2020 09:01
Would you buy a second hand car off of Mr Sweeney?

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 21 February, 2020 09:12
This is the same man who was head of the British Olympic coffers and cut minority sports to promote the elite athletes - a coincidence as to how he now thinks - I think not!! Nothing in this mans mind has changed - just the sport and venue. It also says to me that the RFU were already thinking along these lines to employ such a hatchet man.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 23 February, 2020 10:41
Posted on RFU website yesterday;

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “RFU funding over the next two seasons will have a greater proportion going to clubs for the 2020/21 season, resulting in a reduction of £135,000 rather than the £220,000 per club in the original proposal.

“We listened to feedback from the clubs and wanted to find a funding solution that would lessen the impact for the 2020/21 season.

“We haven’t taken this issue lightly and we understand the repercussions, and what a reduction in funding means to the clubs and the players and all involved. We have told the clubs that we are here to help them through the transition in any way we can.

"In addition to funding discussions we want to work together as a group to define the role of the Championship. We need to have clear joint goals for the League and be sure of the benefit we're getting from our investment in it. We are committed to exploring commercial opportunities to make the League more self-sustaining."

“The clubs met yesterday to talk about the phased reduction. Although we have yet to hear back formally from the Championship Executive, a number of clubs have contacted us directly to provide feedback. We look forward to further discussion with the executive in the near future.”

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
wigston pirate 23 February, 2020 14:22
Have not got around to reading TRP this week but gather there are plenty of items mentioned. Even bringing back playoffs again which would not be welcome by Saracens. Will be watching 6 nations today and cheering on Ireland (Mother Irish Birth) due to the fact the RFU have so much involvement. No doubt the crowd who support the lower league clubs will be paying a fortune for the privilege of entering Twickenham and ensuring the blazers sit in their executive boxes waving down on those below. Sorry to say will have no involvement with supporting England till the rabble at the RFU have been rucked out and some people who come in from the lower leagues and show them how to operate. No doubt if the RFU and PRL had an issue this would be broadcast on BBC, Sky, BT and discussions brought out for the world to know. But, still little coverage outside the forums.


Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
old prop steve 23 February, 2020 17:18
We could all take an easy shot at those old gin -soaked 'old farts' of the latter amateur days but in their defence they had all played the game, loved it and cared deeply about the sport rather than just calculating balance sheets and providing over priced lunches for city types who only want to get sloshed.

Yes there has been huge progress on the field and the game is far more skilful and faster but there has been an enormous price to pay - especially at the most junior levels. It is shameful that a club like St.Ives could no longer operate when I recall they always ran two good teams and sometimes a third plus a flourishing under 18 Colts side. I don't know how many players the Pirates Amateurs have but when Penzance-Newlyn ran 3 teams they must have had over sixty of various abilities at any given time.

Surely levels of participation is the ultimate yardstick of the relative success of any sport's governing body.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Wino 24 February, 2020 10:36
The three great lies:
1. Your cheque is in the post
2. Of course I’ll still love you in the morning
3. I’m from the RFU and I’m here to help you

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Porthusek Pirate 24 February, 2020 12:21
This is the same man who was head of the British Olympic coffers and cut minority sports to promote the elite athletes - a coincidence as to how he now thinks - I think not!! Nothing in this mans mind has changed - just the sport and venue. It also says to me that the RFU were already thinking along these lines to employ such a hatchet man.

That post pretty much nails it.

Round pegs for round holes and the RFU have found their round peg.

Bill Sweeney knows exactly what he is doing, suggest what you will know will be dismissed out of hand then 'make an offer' to offer up the perception that it is a compromise and set your ultimate goals in motion.

So transparent in its cynicism.

The man will be ruthless and in this case fire needs to be fought with fire.

The one shining light hopefully is that many championship clubs are owned/run by very successful businessmen and entrepreneurs in their own right and I hope Bill Sweeney is underestimating them and come to that, the fans.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
truropirate 25 February, 2020 11:27
OPS don't forget the older club like St Day have folded in the last few years and more recently Lanner have withdrew from the league and Redruth Albany are struggling to get side out. I could go on but there are a lot of clubs in Cornwall that use to run 2 or 3 sides now only run 1.

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
cornishbob 25 February, 2020 12:48
The demise of small clubs and some older ones struggling has as much to do with kids having other interests and schools not promoting sport and in lots of cases demonising the urge to win. A few years ago New Zealand rugby was struggling and on examination highlighted only the taking part and not the competitive ethos was being taught in schools- winning didn't matter. Kids lost interest and went on to other things. The answer is keeping the younger generation involved and forging a pride in what they do - and of course winning but being able to accept defeat as and when it occurs. The RFU in their latest round are slowly alienating themselves from the grass roots by these cuts which filters down to the smaller clubs by cutting the funding larger clubs like ours are able to in the community. Some clubs will now not be able to work in the community as a consequence - or is this a part of the 'grand plan' anyway?

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Irish Londoner 04 March, 2020 10:14
I used to be involved in a club in London and at a County RFU meeting we raised concerns that two local teams had folded due to lack of players and we were now one of only three clubs in an area where there used be eight.
The RFU response was "there were too many clubs in your area anyway".
The issue here is that what the RFU and PRL see as "growing the game" is vastly different to what the other clubs and fans see it.
Question - is "growing the game":
A - More people - especially children and women - playing rugby at school and/or a club?
B - More people attending club games either at their local club or at National/Champ/Premiership level?
C - Bringing more and more money in from TV and sponsors and giving it to the top 13 professional clubs?
The RFU answer is always "C" !

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Black Bart 04 March, 2020 15:43
Good post Irish Londoner, and it sums it up perfectly

Re: Premiership/RFU stitch up
Pirate15 04 March, 2020 18:04
The Pirates have confirmed 2 free coaching clinics, one by Chris Morgan and the other by Alan Paver at local rugby clubs for coaches of all levels to attend. More evidence (not that its needed) of the contribution that championship clubs are making to promote and improve the game of rugby in the community.

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