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Time for the RFU to get a grip on Elite Rugby?
Posted by: JL904
Date: 19/01/2020 18:54
First things first - especially for opposition supporters looking at this.

What I say now is in no way "shifting the blame for our cheating". That is entirely down to the management and board at the club, and the fine/relegation are fully deserved. Right or wrong, we can't be stripped of trophies, but there's no question that there's a case to be made for an asterisk against them in the records showing that we were in breach of the financial regulations at the time.

For that reason alone, I respectfully ask visitors to keep this thread on topic - we don't need telling for the hundredth time what we've done, or what individuals feel should have been a more suitable punishment. Serious contributions to a serious question are, of course more than welcome.

OK - the point of the thread title.

PRL was established as a stand-alone competition for a number of rugby clubs - some historically elite, some with financial backing from wealthy individuals - with the agreement and endorsement of the RFU.

With the exception of some financial agreements regarding certain payments, that was the limit of their involvement so far as I know. The management, oversight and governance was left in the hands of the respective club chairmen - an "old boys club" in all but name. Well meaning amateurs, but ultimately all with a conflict of interest (namely their own club versus the wider game.)

They stumbled along without major calamity until four or 5 years ago when SC breaches first raised its head as a serious issue. What happened? Secret investigation, secret evidence, secret settlement, confidential agreement which a few of the clubs quickly decided weren't that important. "Wasn't us guv". Nobody was happy, and the legitimate questions didn't go away.

Five years later, here we are. It looks like we spent the next 5 years still cheating which raises several questions. Why were we not seriously investigated sooner? In hindsight, why did the other clubs accept a settlement - were they playing fast & loose and keen to see the issue go away? Why did PRL not look to get some independent people involved in the governance of the organisation?

Now, I'll say it again - this isn't about Saracens punishment, it's fully deserved. It's about the way it's been handled.

Again secret evidence, secret investigation and secret report - the results of which were held back during the WC so the press. pundits, fans and Uncle Tom Cobbley & all could leak & speculate at will. Result is finally made public - big fine and points deduction, followed immediately by Owen Slot revealing that there's more to come.

Then followed by more speculation with added spite and bile. It's hard to take - but equally hard to blame anyone spitting it either. My point is, why are they in a position to do so? Answer - the incompetent, frankly shambolic handling of the situation.

Ultimatums from rival Chairmen? Let's see your books or take relegation? Well, what happens when they've seen our books? Who leaks first? Relegation now having given Wuss a towelling chasing a BP - but now nothing at stake for us but possible Euro qualification for opponents ?

Talk about looking like making it up as we go. If it wasn't so tragic it would be funny. It isn't funny, but PRL are a laughing stock as an organisation running an elite competition. They couldn't run a bloody bath.

Hence my question. Is there a case for the sport's governing body to step in and actually get involved with the governance of elite rugby in England? I don't necessarily mean taking over - but insistence on being an independent presence, an overhaul of the rules and regulations, the oversight of club accounts, and not only take this mess by the scruff of the neck - but clean it up and ensure that it stays clean

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