After a division around the rugby world earlier this year with the now binned Nations Championship idea, British rugby has its own idea that is splitting opinion. 

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An anonymous chairman of a Gallagher Premiership team has said that a new British League will be in place in two years’ time. Similar to what they have already done in the Premiership, CVC are seeking to buy a stake in the PRO14 with the aim of forming a possible Anglo-Welsh League, or a British and Irish League. 

While this idea has been warmly welcomed by Welsh fans on social media, many English fans have their reservations. The Welsh regions have struggled in recent years both on the field and in terms of garnering support. Stadium attendances have plummeted as have viewing figures, and there have been funding problems with the Welsh Rugby Union. 

On the other hand, the Premiership is in a much healthier position, not only with attendances, but they have a lucrative TV deal with BT Sport. Many fans are struggling to see what the incentive is for English clubs to give up their league. 

The biggest concern for English fans is that a British and Irish League would devalue the Champions Cup considerably. If all nations from the British Isles were competing week on week, it would mean that there are only a handful of new and unique fixtures against French opposition in the Champions Cup. The prestige and gravitas of the European competition would be diluted as a result. 

Furthermore, when looking at the Champions Cup, it is the matches against the Irish and French sides that draw in the biggest crowds in England and receive the most attention. While an Anglo-Welsh League seems the least likely of the options in the future, matches between the two countries will not be as attractive to English clubs as they are to Welsh. 

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However, with the funding that CVC will provide, the British and Irish League may be different from what many think it will be and could very well be a success. That is why there are some English fans that are keen on this idea. But the majority seem to be content with what is in place currently. This is what has been said: 

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Given the success Irish provinces have had over the past few years both domestically and in Europe, it is no surprise that this new league seems to be an unpopular option across the Irish Sea. Likewise, given the growing success of the Scottish sides in the PRO14, they are equally unlikely to match the Welsh’s zeal for this change. 

With the South African clubs only joining the PRO14 two seasons ago, and the Italian sides not many years before that, this new league idea would put out a number of countries if it were to happen. These are early days in this saga, but many fans already seem set on what they want.

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