Rugby union coverage, what there is, is dominated by the up-coming Japan world cup. The club game ( the Premiership doesn’t start until mid-October) barely rates a mention, but on September 13, the RFU Council will meet to vote on a controversial proposal to create a 13-team Premiership; should the move be passed, it’s expected that no team would be relegated at the end of next (2019-20) season. The team finishing bottom of the new 13-team Premiership for 2020-21 would then face a two-leg play-off against the Championship winners to determine who would qualify for the following season’s Premiership.
True rugby fans may be dismayed, although not surprised, by such a proposal, with a vast swathe of meaningless games the inevitable result of this ring-fencing. The Championship club will be hugely disadvantaged in this play-off system simply because of the different calibre of opposition each team will have faced in their respective campaigns.
The irony is that we’ve just had possibly the greatest Premiership to date and in large part this was down to the incredible multi-team scrap to avoid the drop that went virtually to the last try.
What a sad day it will be for rugby union if the “right” to relegation is effectively scrapped.