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Cash shortfall leaves club facing English top flight expulsion

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ryan Hiscott/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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DMP Durham Sharks face getting kicked out of the Allianz Premier 15s in England due to a cash shortfall ahead of the 2022/23 season. Needing to raise £50,000 by a Monday deadline, the club have taken to raising money via an online crowdfunding page. So far, nearly £8,000 of that target has been raised.

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The issue emerged when a letter addressed to supporters of rugby and women’s sport was written by a DMP Sharks player. It read: “We are in the extremely unfortunate position of being forced to withdraw from the Allianz Premier 15s due to a lack of funding to support our 2022/23 season.

“We are reaching out to ask for your financial support to help us bridge the gap in the shortfall of the basic running costs required to complete in the league this year and supplement what has been provided by the Rugby Football Union.

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“It is roughly estimated that we need to raise a minimum of £50,000 in order to be able to stay afloat in the league and feel our only option is to reach out to the public and ask for assistance.

“We have opted to try Crowdfunding in order to raise money. However, the bottom line is that we need a consortium of individuals or businesses to commit to underwriting any shortfall in running costs over the season. As this is a time-sensitive issue, unfortunately this agreement must be in place by Monday, August 8.

“Sharks have supported and developed over 50 England international level players over the last 15 years. There is a raft of talent in the region that will go unnurtured and undeveloped if the team does not have the opportunity to play.

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An RFU statement on the situation read: “DMP Durham Sharks are currently not in a position to secure the level of funding required to compete in the 2022/23 Allianz Premier 15s. The RFU and DMP Durham are working together to attain a suitable outcome given the circumstances. We understand this is a difficult and uncertain time for all involved and will update as and when we can.”

DMP Durham finished in last place in the ten-team league last season, losing all 18 of their matches in a championship that was ultimately won by Saracens in the playoff final against Exeter. Saracens defeated Durham 104-0 in a fixture last January.

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