Rugby Union: Clubs try to buy and shut Richmond

THERE WAS fun and games in the Allied Dunbar Premiership's bargain basement department yesterday as Bedford found themselves a new set of owners and Richmond swiftly rejected a hard-nosed - some would say cynical - manoeuvre by England's senior clubs to reduce the size of the league by paying off the their debts and closing them down. Any move towards a 12-team competition for next season now depends on whether another impoverished duo, London Scottish and West Hartlepool, can find ways of staying in business.

After a harrowing season of high-profile resignations, salary delays and threatened player strikes, Bedford were breathing the fresh air of hope after confirmation that Frank Warren, the boxing promoter, had sold his 90 per cent shareholding to Jefferson Lloyd International, a corporate consultancy with recently acquired interests in other sports, including football. The new owners, who were planning to address the players before this afternoon's home match with Northampton, intend to stay at Goldington Road and, local council willing, bring the ground up to 21st century speed.

"We're not in this for 12 months only, or as long as Bedford stay in the first division," said Gary Woods, an existing director who will sit on a new three-man management board. "It's a serious venture on our part and, while we're not chucking millions at the club, we're committed to success. We're confident of staying in the top flight but, whatever happens, we'll work to keep the existing squad together."

Richmond, meanwhile, were "90 per cent confident" of generating sufficient new money by the end of next month to ensure a future for themselves in the professional game. Currently in financial administration following an abrupt decision by their major backer, Ashley Levett, to drastically reduce his investment, Richmond have just over five weeks to piece together a rescue package.

They know they are treading water in a shark-infested sea; English First Division Rugby, the powerful senior clubs' umbrella organisation, this week discussed the possibility of buying Richmond with a view to pulling the rug from under them. "We are fully determined to retain our independence," said Tony Hallett, the former Richmond chief executive who has coordinated the efforts of club loyalists to find new backing.

There were striking developments at one of Britain's richest clubs yesterday when Cardiff, now nearing the end of their season-long political battle with the Welsh Rugby Union, announced that Terry Holmes would vacate the Arms Park coaching job at the end of the season while only halfway through a two-year contract.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project