The Italian rugby union is to take over the running of Zebre following the club’s shock announcement that they intended to withdraw from the Pro12.

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The Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) announced that they would be taking over the club and that it will compete in the forthcoming 2016/2017 season.

The FIR said in order to comply with their agreement with Celtic Rugby they would effectively take over the running of the club.

Andrea Dalledonne and Diego Rivetti are to be appointed as directors, and the club is to stay in Parma.

Zebre have experienced ongoing financial problems since their inception as a professional team in 2012.

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Last week the company behind the Pro12 released a statement in which they confirmed that they are advanced talks with two South African rugby regarding their accession into a larger Pro14 tournament.

“Celtic Rugby can confirm that advanced and positive discussions are taking place with the South African Rugby Union regarding the introduction of 2 teams into an expanded Guinness PRO12 Championship.

Given the proximity of the 2017/18 season start, a final decision on this potential expansion will be confirmed as soon as practical.”

Founded in 1973 by the former Italian national captain Marco Bollesan, Zebre was chosen, in 2012, by the Italian Rugby Federation to compete in the Pro12 after Aironi were disbanded.

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The name had been used by an invitational select rugby union team based in Northwest Italy that played regular fixtures between 1973 and 1997. In those 23 years, 25 matches were held against international clubs.

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