Con­flict­ing views over ringfenc­ing

Gloucestershire Echo - - DEAC'S WEEK -

THE League does not re­spect any­one and with the Premier­ship be­ing so com­pet­i­tive rel­e­ga­tion can quickly be­come re­al­ity.

I have thought long and hard re­gard­ing the el­e­ga­tion de­bate. Should the Premier­ship be ringfenced? Orig­i­nally, I was in the camp which wanted to keep rel­e­ga­tion/pro­mo­tion. But as pro­fes­sional rugby has de­vel­oped there is only a small num­ber of clubs that can sus­tain it. Wages are in­creas­ing, in­fra­struc­tures are be­com­ing more so­phis­ti­cated, the qual­ity of the player re­quired has im­proved, as has the prod­uct’s qual­ity. Rugby can­not be­come a south­ern-cen­tric game - hav­ing a North East club like New­cas­tle will only help to spread the rugby mes­sage na­tion­ally.

Cou­pled with this New­cas­tle have in­vested in their own in­fra­struc­ture, their sup­porter base has in­creased, the squad they have as­sem­bled is a qual­ity out­fit, they have been rav­aged by long term in­juries to key players this sea­son.

To keep the pro­mo­tion-rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle com­pet­i­tive I would have a play off, home and away, against the rel­e­gated club and the club that comes top of the Cham­pi­onship.

With all that said any club look­ing to come up will still have to meet the strin­gent rules re­gard­ing a busi­ness plan and in­fra­struc­ture to make it into the top flight.

No rel­e­ga­tion will also encourage own­ers of clubs to in­vest fur­ther, im­prov­ing the prod­uct, which can only be good for the fu­ture of our sport.

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