Saracens’ ex-interim CEO Edward Griffiths is apparently back in the game – working on a pro-bono basis on a radical plan to safeguard the financial future of the threatened English Championship clubs.
Griffiths recently spent just 26 days at the crisis London club, during which time they failed to sort out their salary cap mess and accepted automatic relegation from the Gallagher Premiership for next season.
He departed with immediate effect on January 28, leaving chairman Neil Golding to work through the salary cap fallout that will see the current Premiership champions ply their trade next season in the English second tier.
However, Griffiths is now reportedly back on the beat, ironically formulating a plan that can enable Saracens’ soon-to-be-rival Championship clubs become self-sufficient.
Ambitious outfits such as Cornish Pirates and Coventry were left dismayed when it emerged last month that the RFU will slash its central funding to second tier clubs by 50 per cent in order to save the English game’s governing body over £3million.
It’s felt that the RFU have no interest in a fully-fledged Championship operating underneath the Premiership, but the Telegraph are now reporting that Griffiths has come on board in an attempt to drum up ideas to make the league more financially attractive.
Championship clubs believe there is scope for their league to become as vibrant as the Pro D2 is in France and they now want to maximise revenues after the RFU funding cut caught them by surprise.
With annual RFU funding being reduced from £530,000 to £288,000 per club, the Championship wants to take control of broadcasting rights and sponsorship which are currently the remit of English rugby HQ.
A source told the Telegraph: “This is going to be a radical proposal. It is about making the Championship able to stand on its own two feet and become financially viable. The Championship remains a hugely important league for English rugby.”
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