Planet Rugby

Premiership clubs to play during RWC?

25th August 2014 13:56

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Twickenham ahead of Aviva Premiership Final

Premiership's threatening to continue with their league schedule

Premiership Rugby has threatened to continue with their league programme during next year's World Cup unless a deal can be reached with the RFU.

Tensions have been running high between Premiership Rugby and the RFU in recent months.

Premiership Rugby are upset after the RFU failed to consult them over the bid for the World Cup.

They are now seeking a compensation deal of £14 million from the RFU as they will have to shut down the league while the World Cup is taking place in England.

With the global showpiece scheduled to take place between September and October, England's Premiership clubs will have no matchday income for five months - as the tournament finishes at the end of May - and according to projections each top tier club are set to lose £1.2 million.

But the RFU are yet to agree to Premiership Rugby's compensation demands.

The Rugby Paper reports that the RFU have made a £6 million pound offer to Premiership Rugby on condition that clubs release players to play in further home Tests.

More money will then come to Premiership Rugby as part of an agreement between the RFU and clubs which is due for renewal in 2016.

The RFU's offer is unlikely to reach Premiership Rugby's demands, however. Administrators at England's leading clubs are set to refuse the RFU's new post-World Cup deal.

"Until suitable compensation is agreed we should look to play through the World Cup," said Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen.

"There are ongoing talks between Premiership Rugby and the RFU, but the World Cup was an agreement between the IRB and RFU to which 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.

"So if there isn't going to be adequate compensation, we should play through."

That threat could jeopardise the staging of the World Cup. An agreement between the RFU and IRB states that no elite club rugby will be played during the World Cup.

"That's not our problem because both of them entered into an agreement without consulting us in any way, shape or form," added Cohen.

"Why should Leicester as a club be concerned about that?

"Presumably the Premiership playing through the World Cup would be a breach of the IRB regulations, but those regulations are almost certainly a restraint of trade and therefore probably unenforceable."

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