Premiership Rugby clubs resumed negotiations to "bring an end to promotion and relegation," with a new possibility of expanding the Premiership to a 13-club league, according to Owen Slot of the LONDON TIMES. Some clubs would be "keen to pull up the trap door immediately and therefore ensure that no one would be relegated at the end of this season." The first nine rounds of this season’s Premiership competition have "established a situation where seven clubs are at risk of relegation, arguably nine." It is "this fear" that has focused minds. The subject of "ringfencing" was an occasional discussion point among the clubs and "came close to being waved through earlier this year." One of the new proposals is to expand the Premiership into a 13-club competition. This would require an extra four Premiership weekends each season (LONDON TIMES, 12/3).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Opposition Leader Michael Daley "will go down in history" as the person who cost Sydney the National Rugby League grand final if he wins the state election in March, according to Danny Weidler of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Daley, who has been in the job for less than a month, "stunned all the major football codes" when he announced last week that "he would stop all new stadium funding." Daley did not consult any of the key players "before dropping the bombshell." In fact, he made the announcement at Moore Park -- a few steps from the office of NRL CEO Todd Greenberg -- and still did not tell him. Daley appears to believe the NRL "is bluffing and would not dare to take the grand final interstate." Nothing "could be further from the truth." Other states, particularly Queensland and Victoria, "would pay big money to steal the NRL decider from NSW." Victoria, for example, would be able to host the Australian Rugby League and NRL grand finals on consecutive weekends. The tourism benefits of that doubleheader "would be amazing." The NRL is also "keen to prove it is not Sydney-centric" -- that is why it is taking Origin matches to Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. The only reason the NRL previously agreed to keep the grand final in Sydney is the Gladys Berejiklian government agreed to "pour" A$1.8B ($1.3B) into a "decent stadiums network" for the city (SMH, 12/1).
The England & Wales Cricket Board will interview candidates to succeed Andrew Strauss as England director of cricket over the next fortnight. The former England captain "took a break from the role in May and stood down in October as his wife was being treated for cancer." Andy Flower, the interim replacement, is among the candidates for the full-time position (LONDON TIMES, 12/3).
On Int'l Day for Disabled People, England Rugby, in partnership with Activity Alliance, launched the Disability Action Plan for the next three years. Running through '21, the plan sets out a series of interventions and partnerships (England Rugby).