After reports that the Gallagher Premiership will move away from a promotion and relegation model, second-tier clubs have revealed their ambitions to potentially play elsewhere.
Championship club Ealing Trailfinders – currently sitting second on the table with an eye on Premiership promotion – are currently examining the possibility of joining Welsh, Irish, Italian, Scottish and South African sides in the PRO14.
Travel company founder Mike Gooley has invested £25m in the club, helping to steer the club’s rise from lower leagues to the Championship.
“This business of ring-fencing is absolutely counter to the spirit of sport. It might also be unlawful,” Gooley told The Daily Mail after reports the Premiership would scrap the relegation system.
“Some Championship sides have invested a lot of money with the possibility that they could reach the Premiership.
“Our first aspiration would be to play in the Premiership.
“Perhaps the PRO14 would be a second aspiration. We have looked at the PRO14 because they would accept our stadium.
“I haven’t written cheques to accelerate us straight into the Premiership but if we need to spend £7million, then I’m good for it.”
According to reports, second-tier clubs Ealing, Nottingham, Coventry and Cornish Pirates are ready to hit the courtroom if the Premiership changes its model.
As for aspirations of joining the PRO14, competition chiefs have already revealed plans to expand the competition further, having recently expanded to 14 teams after adding South Africa’s Southern Kings and Cheetahs.
The possible addition of three more South African sides has been mentioned, though the expansion may come from somewhere closer to home after Gooley’s statement.
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