Belfast Telegraph

Scottish chiefs open to Italian inclusion

Scottish Rugby have strenuously denied claims they were attempting to block Italian entry into the Magners League, insisting they welcomed the prospect.

It was reported that the league's Welsh and Irish clubs were ready to threaten Scottish sides Edinburgh and Glasgow with expulsion from the competition if Scottish Rugby voted against Italian clubs joining the competition next season.

But a spokesperson for the Scottish game's governing body said: "There have been no threats made at all."

He added: "Our position is that we are positive about Italian entry. We believe that can enhance the tournament and can enhance European rugby."

Press Association Sport understands the dispute between the Scots and their Welsh and Irish counterparts centres on whether there is a need to revamp the administration of the Celtic League.

The Scottish Rugby spokesperson added: "Italian entry needs to be done in a managed fashion so it assists with the development and growth of the tournament.

"We've had some very constructive discussions with our colleagues in Ireland and Wales. We recently had very positive discussions with our colleagues in Italy, with a view to the Italians joining.

"There are a number of issues that need to be clarified and one of the key issues that we seek clarification on is the governance and the administration of the Celtic League to ensure that any Italian entry is managed appropriately and enhances the tournament.

"As it stands just now, there's just the one individual who manages the Celtic League, David Jordan.

"With the Italians coming in, we feel we need to up our game and professionalise the set-up of the Celtic League and we need to get that agreed in advance and as soon as possible."

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