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Is the Premiership in Rugby Union a closed shop to second-tier clubs?


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Posting about this ridiculous situation here as this affects 2 fairly local teams, Rotherham Titans and Doncaster Knights.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/may/10/the-breakdown-rugby-email

 

Newcastle were doomed to finish at the bottom of the table following their victory at Wasps. Less than 48 hours later, the outlook for the Falcons looked brighter. Bristol, the favourites to win the Championship play-offs and the only one of the semi-finalists regarded as having a strong chance of meeting the Premiership's entry criteria, lost by 21 points at Cornish Pirates and have it all to do in the second leg on Sunday.

 

The Pirates, along with Bedford, who lost at home to London Welsh in the first leg of their semi-final, have no chance of playing in the Premiership next season. They did not ask to be audited to see if they met the criteria knowing that their grounds would fail on several counts

 

There has been concern among Championship clubs that the entry criteria amount to a restraint of trade given the myriad demands that need to be met. Sides in the second tier have a wage bill of no more than 25% of that of their Premiership counterparts and gate income is appreciably less.

 

The financial cost of gaining entry to the Premiership is less than the extra income received, certainly initially, because of the expenditure needed to meet the criteria: going through the audit process on its own costs.

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