Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Time for Premiership Rugby to get radical?

I’m beginning to like Nigel Melville as acting CEO at the RFU.

Ok, so potentially he has a £4.7 million lawsuit hanging over him in the US following his stint as Chief Executive of USA Rugby but, hey, nobody’s perfect.

What I like about Melville as a Chief Executive is (a) that he knows his rugby, (b) that he is willing to think outside the box and (c) that he appears to agree with me. 😆

For some time I’ve been banging on about how 2 fully professional leagues of 12 teams in England is simply unsustainable financially.

I’ve even suggested that 16 clubs is probably the maximum number of sustainable professional rugby clubs in England. 

Lo and behold, when commenting on the possible ring-fencing of the Premiership, Melville has mooted the idea of expanding the Premiership to 16 clubs split into a two-league conference system with play offs to decide the champions.

The devil, obviously, will be in the detail, and the clubs may need to make some short term sacrifices (in terms of revenues being split 16 ways) for longer term gains, but I do like the fact that Melville is prepared to think radically to try to solve this thorniest of issues.

Of course how such radicalism will go down in the corridors of power in TW1 remains to be seen...

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