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Volume 7 No. 83
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Rugby Football Union Open To Possibility Of Scrapping Promotion, Relegation

Rugby Football Union CEO Steve Brown said that the RFU "is open to the possibility of getting rid of promotion and relegation to and from the Premiership," according to Gerard Meagher of the London GUARDIAN. The RFU has "traditionally been against ring-fencing the top flight" but Brown conceded that as discussions continue over how the domestic structure fits in with the global calendar from '20 onward, its stance "has changed somewhat." Reducing the Premiership to 10 teams is reportedly "also among a host of suggestions previously made." Brown: "There’s no specific plan of action at this point." Brown "also hinted that doing away with one or both of the A League and the Anglo-Welsh Cup may also be part of the solution." He said, "We're looking at all options, but there's no specific consideration of numbers [of teams in each league] at the moment" (GUARDIAN, 12/5). In London, Mick Cleary reported several leading players "have threatened strike action over mooted proposals" to have a 10-month domestic season stretching from September to June. Brown stated that he took those threats "very seriously," but remains confident that a solution "will be found by the end of the season" (TELEGRAPH, 12/5).

UNDER PRESSURE: In London, Jack de Menezes reported World Rugby has "been urged to get to the root of the rugby crisis in the Pacific Islands" after the RFU faced calls to give its matchday takings to the "bankrupt" Samoan Rugby Union ahead of last month’s autumn int'l, with the English governing body stressing it is not its duty to "bail them out." Brown said, "I think the bottom line is we feel for the unions that are struggling. ... Our response to the situation was to firstly think about what we might do just purely from a player perspective. ... The second thing was to put some pressure on World Rugby to help us or them to find a resolution in particular with Samoa and their situation" (INDEPENDENT, 12/5).