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RFU denies domestic club restructure- 15 Jan 2007 00:00:00

The RFU has strongly denied reports that it is pushing forward with a plan to initiative a major restructure of the domestic club game which would see a number of existing Guinness Premiership clubs thrown out of the top flight.

According to reports, the RFU plans to restructure the top flight league into a Super 10 format with the member clubs spread geographically across England.

The move would mean that a number of existing teams not chosen for the Super 10 would have to either merge with one of the new top flight clubs or ply their trade in a league below – a scenario that would likely lead to extinction given the lack of financial support.

Among the clubs thought to be outside of the thinking for the Super 10 concept include Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks, Harlequins and London Irish.

However the RFU has firmly denied any such activity, stating that it is still going through a lengthy consultation review of the domestic game and that no decisions will be made until that process was complete.

Martyn Thomas, chairman of the RFU Management Board said: ‘I wrote to the chairmen of all Guinness Premiership clubs last week setting out the proposed extensive game wide consultation process that the RFU is going to put in place. This process will start on the 9 February 2007 and last for four months. A consultation document is currently being produced. No proposals will be made until the consultation process has been completed.’

The supposed restructuring plan has met with anger from the clubs outlining their widespread lack of support for the idea should it prove to be the RFU’s preferred option.

The consultation review aims to put an idea to the increasingly turbulent relationship between the governing body and the clubs over the last few years.

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