Premiership Reveals Radical Overhaul

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Aviva Premiership chiefs have indicated that they are currently in discussions regarding the expansion of the league which would see promotion and relegation scrapped.

The discussions are currently ongoing, but if approved would see the league expanded to 14 teams and see an end to relegation from the league.

Amongst those debating the issue will be England head coach Stuart Lancaster who was previously Director of Rugby at Leeds Carnegie.

“I’m sure my opinion will be asked and I guess I’ve seen it from all ends,” Lancaster said.

One idea is for the Premiership to grow to 14 teams for the 2016-17 season.

The talks between Premiership Rugby and the RFU, described as “constant and productive”, are a key part of the negotiations around a new agreement between the two parties, with the current deal expiring in 2016.

It is however believed that such a change would not be a permanent measure, meaning in the future Championship clubs may be able to force their way int the Premiership if they can prove their sustainability both on and off the pitch over a period of time.

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Geoff Irvine, chairman of the Championship, told the Daily Telegraph: “We understand that there is a move afoot within Premiership Rugby to go to 14 clubs and either ring-fence or have a play-off.

“The Championship would be very interested in hearing the details of these discussions and hope at some point that we will be consulted.”

London Welsh are currently being highlighted as an example of the chasm between the Premiership and Championship, and would therefore likely see Bristol Rugby and Worcester Warriors promoted, potentially alongside Yorkshire Carnegie.

It is believed that these three sides have a more sustainable infrastructure than London Welsh which would give them a better chance of competing in the Premiership.

The proposal has support of the Premiership clubs but would also need the approval of the RFU council, which in the past has advocated the retention of the promotion and relegation system.

Ian Connell, board chairman for Championship side the Cornish Pirates, told BBC Sport: “Cornish Pirates welcome a discussion with PRL and feel that we should be consulted. If and when that happens we would intend to play a full part.”

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