English rugby chiefs have insisted their Gallagher Premiership clubs will have a role to play in delivering a post-lockdown playing schedule. In a joint letter, Premiership Rugby (PRL) and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) had demanded they are consulted before any plans are confirmed for the establishment of a new rugby schedule post-coronavirus.
Amid fears that World Rugby will concentrate efforts on facilitating additional Test match fixtures with major unions who are facing financial problems, the Premiership and Top 14 French clubs wrote to the game’s governing body in a bid to be formally involved in the shake-up.
Concerned that this could create club-versus-country problems on both sides of the Channel, the Rugby Football Union have now moved to head off any serious conflict with its English professional clubs by issuing a statement confirming all stakeholders will be consulted.
That includes the Rugby Players Association and the Professional Game Board in England which brings all of the different factions together.
The statement said: “The RFU has proactively consulted with the PRL since the start of discussions regarding potential future season calendars.
“We will continue to seek PRL updates and involvement regarding the completion options of the Premiership season as well as the calendar for future seasons. The discussions will always be centred around player welfare and those who are fully involved include the PRL, PGB, RPA and World Rugby.”
While the Premiership clubs continue to formulate a plan that will allow the indefinitely suspended 2019/20 season to be completed in England once lockdown restrictions are lifted, the Top 14 season has been abandoned in France creating considerable debate over how the qualifiers for next season’s Heineken Cup will be determined.
With limited dates to work with, the English and French clubs are concerned that their international players will have to be released for a series of additional Test matches later in the year which would seriously affect the club programme.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now