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Championship latest: 'There's definitely going to be a competition'

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Mark McCall has admitted Saracens will have to win their way back into the Gallagher Premiership on the pitch, explaining that a Championship will definitely go ahead at some stage this year in some shape or form. There has been speculation that the automatically relegated London club could be handed a free pass back into the 2021/22 Premiership if the much delayed second-tier Championship doesn’t go ahead.

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McCall, though, believes his team’s route back to the top-flight will be via on-pitch success, even if he is not certain the currently proposed Championship format – two conferences of six teams each with matches to start on March 6 – will go ahead as planned. 

“It’s more a case of will all 12 clubs take part,” said Saracens boss McCall when asked what the latest outlook was for the much delayed Championship season. “There’s definitely going to be a competition. 

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“It’s just whether that competition is in the current format with two conferences and six teams in each or if a couple of teams for some reason can’t take part what it looks like. That is not up to us. It’s up to the Championship committee. 

“As far as I know promotion is going to be decided on the field, so that is the most important thing. Whether that is a first-past-the-post system or a playoff system, at the moment it is up to other people.”

There has also been speculation that when Saracens return to the top-flight that an end will be put to relegation from the Premiership. McCall, though, isn’t in favour of a total ring-fencing of the top flight, believing exception much always be made for clubs with the resources to match their ambition.    

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“If there is ring-fencing, it shouldn’t be closed,” he speculated ahead of Saturday’s London derby at Ealing in the opening round of the Trailfinders Cup, Saracens’ first competitive match since an October 4 draw with Bath in their last Premiership game before relegation.   

“So if there is a club who have got the resources and the wherewithal to come into the Premiership they should be allowed to do that. What I mean is there doesn’t have to be a 13-team ring-fenced Premiership. It can be more than that, can’t it? There’s no reason to stop a club with ambition coming into a competition with no relegation.”

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Championship latest: 'There's definitely going to be a competition'

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