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English rugby
Premiership could rescue 'neglected' Championship
ESPN Staff
June 15, 2014

Aviva Premiership chief executive Mark McCafferty has floated the prospect of a takeover of the Championship after accusing the Rugby Football Union of neglecting the second-tier league.

McCafferty claims that Championship clubs are not being adequately rewarded for their role in developing the league and providing players for the Premiership. Teams in the Championship currently receive annual funding of £365,000 from a central pot of £4.4m.

The RFU contributes £2.7m to the pot each year, with £400,000 coming from sponsors Greene King, £1m from Premiership Rugby and £320,000 from Sky Sports. But clubs believe they are being sold short after seeing little commercial improvement in the league since the current structure was introduced in 2009.

Asked if the Premiership would consider taking control of the Championship, McCafferty told the Rugby Paper: "That depends on the RFU view but a lot Championship clubs would support that.

"The quality of the Championship has gone up but what's holding them back is the commercial side. We've got a reasonable track record so if there is help and support we can give, I'd like to think we can find ways of doing that.

"The RFU should be investing more in the Championship. Clubs are doing a great job as far as England and player development is concerned and a country the size of England should support two levels of fully-professional rugby,

"That should be the ambition and vision but you can't do it on a shoestring, you've got to invest more money in it. The Championship should be better funded to stand on its own two feet and it needs commercial expertise.

"It hasn't progressed commercially as it has done on the field, so you need to ask 'why? Can we help?' We're certainly open to discussions."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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