Premiership Rugby will provide an update to its board next month on promotion and relegation between England’s top flight and the Championship.
League bosses have met with the Rugby Football Union to discuss the issue, and dialogue is continuing.
It is understood that England’s leading clubs want a 13-team Gallagher Premiership, scrapping promotion and relegation, with the existing 12 clubs being joined by likely Championship winners London Irish who are on the cusp of regaining their top-flight status following relegation this time last year.
Premiership Rugby requires unanimous backing from its 13 shareholder clubs, which includes Irish, for any proposed change to the regulations, and then RFU approval.
“It is the right time to fundamentally rethink the system in this country as we try to secure financial sustainability for the professional game in England at all levels,” said a Premiership Rugby spokesperson.
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“We are in a dialogue with the RFU, and as we have already announced, we will be coming back to the Premiership Rugby Board meeting next month with an update, and that is still the case.
“These crucial discussions are about deciding the most effective structure for the top end of the game in England. They have to be structured, balanced and create the best long-term solution for English rugby.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) March 24, 2019
The next board meeting is on April 9, when promotion and relegation will be high on the agenda. Storied Leicester, who are among a small number of current Premiership clubs never to be relegated, are in danger of making the drop this term after their results collapsed in the recent weeks.
The Tigers lie 10th, just five points above bottom club Newcastle – Leicester visit the Falcons on April 12 – with only five games left. Newcastle are three points adrift of 11th-placed Worcester, while Bristol stand two points above Leicester in ninth, and one behind Wasps.
– Press Association
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