RWC organisers calm over clubs row

Date published: August 27 2014

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RWC organisers are confident the row between the RFU and Premiership clubs won't overshadow next year's World Cup in England.

RWC organisers are confident the row between the RFU and Premiership clubs won't overshadow next year's World Cup in England.

Premiership Rugby, the umbrella group which represents England's 12 leading clubs, is reportedly looking for a £14m compensation package in return for shutting down the league in September and October when the World Cup takes place.

International Rugby Board regulations require no elite club rugby is staged while the World Cup is ongoing.

But Premiership clubs, who stand to lose £1.2m each in the event of a league shutdown, are unhappy at the expectation they will suspend the competition come what may even though they were not consulted about the original World Cup bid.

According to a report in The Rugby Paper, the RFU has offered £6m to the Premiership, but on the condition that players are released for further home Tests – with more following as part of a new agreement between the RFU and clubs due for renewal in 2016.

However, Debbie Jevans, the chief executive of World Cup organisers England Rugby 2015, was optimistic an agreement would be reached.

“I'm not party to the negotiations between the RFU and the Premiership, and nor should I be,” said Jevans on Tuesday as she announced the team base venues for the World Cup.

“All I can say is that there are good relations between us and the Premiership clubs – two of them are hosting games in Gloucester and Exeter, (London) Irish are also a team base – so the relationships there are good.

“I am absolutely confident that there won't be any disruption to what we do.

“We are working with them on the schedule in 2015.”

Her comments came after Leicester chief executive Simon Cohen insisted playing Premiership rugby through the World Cup was still an option.

“Until suitable compensation is agreed we should look to play through the World Cup,” said Cohen on Monday.

“There are ongoing talks between Premiership Rugby and the RFU, but the World Cup has an agreement between the IRB and RFU to which we weren't a party, so to simply expect us to close down our businesses is simply not acceptable.

“It's like going back to the bad old days of serfdom and everybody is extremely angry that this agreement was entered into with an expectation that we would shut down.”

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