The RFU’s decision to scrap relegation in the Gallagher Premiership this season has been met with support from figures across the game.
The league will be expanded next season to 13 teams with one team from the Greene King IPA Championship being promoted. This is a result of the disruption Covid-19 has caused to clubs across England, particularly with regards to cancellations, which has seen this weekend’s fixture between Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons cancelled.
A RFU statement said: “Council members considered the impact Covid-19 has had on all areas of the game, including the earlier decision to suspend promotion and relegation in the community game and the Gallagher Premiership cancelling a significant number of matches in the 2020/21 season. These cancellations have resulted in a material impact on league positions which could mean relegation based on cancellation not on field merit.”
This decision has raised a variety of responses online, and though there is inevitably some disagreement, many see this as a logical response to the pandemic.
This support seems to be on the provision that this is only a short term course of action rather than a precursor to permanently ring-fencing the Premiership. Such a decision is likely to evoke a far more vociferous reaction, and remains one of the most polarising topics in English rugby.
Saracens have frequently been mentioned online since the news was announced alongside an apparent agenda to ensure they return to the top tier next season.
The five-time Premiership winners will still need to overcome the hurdle of winning the upcoming Championship season to claim promotion, and it would be equally unfair to deprive any winners of the second division the chance of being promoted.
On a lighter note, bottom place Gloucester fans are jubilant the Cherry and Whites are avoiding the drop this season. Despite being at the foot of the table, Gloucester are only one point behind Worcester Warriors and three points behind Bath with eight games played, so there is plenty of time for them to turn their season around.
The truncated Championship season will start on the weekend of March 6th.
Exactly right decision. Too much has happened to relegate anyone. I would’ve been tempted to think about no relegation and make it two up to the ?@premrugby? – creating a top 14 and with that create an expansion based model. Stability is fundamental https://t.co/TypHopxFFn
— Ben Ryan (@benjaminryan) February 12, 2021
— Ryan (@RyanWalkinshaw) February 12, 2021
Agree with no relegation Nick, but I willing to bet if Saracens weren’t in the Championship there would be no promotion either. Dying to get Saracens back up, then ring fence Stinks really
— Keith Barker (@BarksBarker) February 12, 2021
Sensible decision in the current circumstances. Relegation does need to be reinstated. If not it will be the end for a lot of clubs in the Champ. . There has to be aspiration to attract investment. No relegation makes for a dull “end of season” for the majority of Prem clubs.
— Pete Carr (@pete1074) February 12, 2021
— Ross Hancock (@RossiHancock) February 12, 2021
The right decision, I think, to scrap relegation this season and make some space for a wider conversation about the relationship between the Prem and the Champ over the longer term. https://t.co/mVzGGGyCLf
— Matt Merritt (@MattMerritt) February 12, 2021
Good move from the RFU. No relegation but the winner of the champ promoted if they meet standards, this means for saracens to go back up they need to earn it rather then get given it, which is much fairer all round. https://t.co/Fh7vpCDGiV
— George Berry (@gdberry12) February 12, 2021
I hope this is for a season only. Completely counterproductive to continue it if the sport wants to grow. If a team is bottom half by mid-season, where does the motivation come from to push for wins?
Raising the standard in the championship through funding is essential.
— Adam (@ABarrettWrites) February 12, 2021
Gloucester have been awful so far and would deserve it but I feel it’s fair considering they’ve played all their games and got zero points from games they’ve lost where other games have been cancelled for COVID reasons and both teams have been allocated points
— Ross Wayman (@realrosswayman) February 12, 2021
Delighted to see common sense prevail. https://t.co/FYU9qD7W7V
— Rupert Forsythe (@rupertforsythe) February 12, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now