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RFU set deadline on promotion rules call


Rob Andrew expects a decision on promotion rules to be made by the end of September

Rob Andrew expects a decision on promotion rules to be made by the end of September

Rob Andrew expects a decision on promotion rules to be made by the end of September

The Rugby Football Union have set a deadline of September to finalise the rules that will govern whether a club can be promoted to the Aviva Premiership in 2012-13.

That does mean the new RFU Championship season will begin on the first weekend of September without the clubs knowing exactly what the minimum standards criteria will be. But the RFU are having to re-draw some of the document and ensure it is legally watertight after London Welsh mounted a successful challenge to the clause covering primacy of tenure.

Rob Andrew, the RFU's professional rugby director, said: "We hope by the end of September to be absolutely clear on the way forward for promotion at the end of next season. There are a lot of legal issues involved in it so we just need a bit of time."

He added: "(Making it legally watertight) is absolutely the issue. What do we need to move it to, to make it fair, reasonable and practical?

"Within the Professional Game Board we don't want to find ourselves in a position at the end of this coming season where we get challenged again because we haven't done the minimum standards right in the areas we are looking at."

London Welsh had initially been barred from going up by the RFU after they failed to meet the minimum standards required of a Premiership club. Their appeal centred on the fact they were being blocked from playing at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium despite three existing Premiership teams cohabiting with football clubs.

An independent appeals panel concluded the so-called 'primacy of tenure' rule was void because it broke European and UK competition laws. Primacy of tenure is required to ensure clubs can stage fixtures on dates set out by the television rights holders.

"The whole minimum standards don't need tearing up. They are there to try and drive standards on and off the field," Andrew said. "This specific issue is around primacy of tenure and the dispensations to the three clubs (Saracens, London Irish and Wasps)."

"The issue was around whether it was fair to have clubs in the Premiership who didn't have primacy of tenure and then you were preventing somebody coming in who also didn't have it. It is not saying primacy of tenure is flawed."

Andrew also confirmed that a new four-year funding agreement had been reached with the Championship clubs, which will secure each of them in excess of £300,000 a year. The funding is conditional on each club fielding at least 15 English players in their 22-man match-day squads this season, rising to 16 next season.