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Talks of World Cup payout continue

Premiership Rugby has sought to defuse tension over the payment of World Cup compensation by promising a swift resolution to negotiations with the Rugby Football Union.

International Rugby Board regulations forbid that other matches are staged during the knock-out phase of their global showpiece, which is being hosted by England next year.

Alarmed by the possibility of five income-free months, the Premiership clubs are demanding the RFU cover for the lost revenue amid threats they will hold games in contravention of IRB rules.

Leicester chief executive Simon Cohen has been the most outspoken critic, declaring "It's like going back to the bad old days of serfdom. If there isn't adequate compensation, we should play through".

But Quentin Smith, Premiership Rugby's chairman, stressed at the launch of the 2014-15 competition at Twickenham that talks are nearing a conclusion.

"We're all looking for a swift outcome, something that is in sight," Smith said.

"This is not a negotiation that will drift. The dialogue doesn't have a timeline, but it's at a very advanced stage.

"Until we resolve this the clubs are upset because nobody doesn't want to produce rugby for their sponsors.

"The negotiations have been an evolution. There has been a recognition there's a problem that needs to be addressed.

"They're not hostile negotiations and it would be really disappointing if we couldn't work through this."

It has been reported that the clubs are seeking £14million in compensation for the loss of revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship, banqueting and broadcasting and have rejected an offer of £6million from the RFU.

The last game of the 2014-15 regular season is on the weekend of May 16/17 while the World Cup quarter-finals begin on October 17 and it is the length of this break that is causing concern.

"Anyone who has a business that is prevented from trading will suffer a loss," Smith said.

"There will not be a single pound going to the benefit of any club, it's about dealing with the losses that will inevitably occur.

"The challenge has been to establish the extent of the loss and how it can be addressed and covered.

"There has been detailed forensic analysis of the clubs' accounts.

"All of them have different accounts and circumstances and we arrived at an estimate of the loss. It's not a figure plucked out of the air.

"Notwithstanding their difficulty, the negotiations are making progress. It's a work in progress.

"There's no emotion, what's critical to us is that our problems are dealt with with understanding. fairness and commercial reality."

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