According to a report in The Rugby Paper Premiership rugby clubs are threatening to continue with their league programme throughout the World Cup in the autumn of 2015. A condition of England’s successful World Cup bid was that there was no elite competitive rugby during the tournament, which would mean the Premiership starting as late as November.
But Premiership Rugby are reportedly upset with the RFU because they weren’t consulted over the bid for the World Cup, and if they have to take an enforced break during September and October 2015, it would mean clubs facing a five-month period without any match-day income.
It is claimed each club is set to lose £1.2million and a compensation package of £14milliom from the RFU has been sought. The Union have offered £6million. Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen likened the situation as “going back to the bad old days of serfdom.” The World Cup was an agreement between the IRB and RFU to which the clubs were not a party, so ” to simply expect us to close down our businesses is simply not acceptable.”
One feels that there is too much at stake on both sides for there not to be a compromise.The clubs have already started talks with the RFU about renewing the elite-player agreement which runs out in 2016. This has worked better than anyone from either side imagined when it was signed in 2008 after years of acrimony and trips to the High Court
One hopes the current dispute will be settled without recourse to our legal friends…..