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Rugby World Cup 2015
Ritchie desperate to prevent England exodus
ESPN Staff
April 15, 2014
RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie poses with the World Cup trophy, Twickenham, England, October 31, 2012
Ian Ritchie will lead negotiations with Premiership clubs © Getty Images
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English rugby must be prepared to challenge the financial rewards on offer in France in order to prevent players flocking overseas after the 2015 World Cup, according to Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie.

While it is current RFU policy only to select players at non-English clubs in exceptional circumstances, the new financial rewards on offer in French club rugby mean there are fears of an exodus after next year's World Cup.

Ritchie said keeping players in the Aviva Premiership will form a central part of his post-World Cup strategy.

"We should not be behind in making it economically right for people to continue to play in this country," he said.

"I don't like a scenario where someone says 'I can get blank when I go overseas'. We should be able to match all of that over here.

"We should be absolutely at the top of the pile here. We should help to try and achieve that and we should be unashamed of that."

Premiership clubs operate under a salary cap that increases to £5 million next season, while England players benefit from a match fee of £15,000.

Negotiations between the RFU and Premiership Rugby, the body that represents the 12 top flight clubs, are set to begin on a new deal over releasing players for international matches. Ritchie hinted that the RFU is hoping for a collaborative approach to convincing England players to remain at home.

"The Premiership salary cap is not a matter for me, it is a matter for Premiership Rugby," he said.

"Players get what they get from the club, from England, which is not an insignificant contribution, and then there's the commercial stuff that he generates off the back of that.

"What we have to do is make that as attractive as possible. I want to see really successful club rugby and that applied across all levels.

"We want to see that and that means they need to be commercially successful. We shouldn't be seen as being in competition with that, we should be seen as helping and assisting it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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