Andrew resigns over failed rugby blueprint

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The Independent Online

Rob Andrew has resigned from Club England over the Rugby Football Union's failure to implement his blueprint for the game.

Rob Andrew has resigned from Club England over the Rugby Football Union's failure to implement his blueprint for the game.

Andrew wanted rugby's top tier to be sealed off for five years, a move he claimed would help clubs struggling financially.

He said today: "I feel very disappointed that the RFU have not been able to implement the Club England Plan.

"This plan for the future of the International and club game was approved by the RFU Council on April 7 2000 following six months of consultation.

"It is now nearly seven months since that date and still there is no agreement.

"The RFU have reneged on the issue of promotion and relegation and the failure to implement the plan is causing extreme financial difficulties for the professional clubs.

"The leading players in the country are relying on the goodwill of the club owners to fund the professional game.

"It is totally unreasonable for professional businesses to wait nearly six months for the implementation of an already agreed and approved plan."

Andrew has also quit his role as chairman of the RFU Taskforce.

There have already been veiled threats of a breakaway from the 12 Zurich Premiership clubs unless the impasse is resolved.

However, the Rugby Football Union is also facing a legal challenge from the Second Division clubs who have refused to accept an annual play-off place instead of automatic promotion.

Many clubs are now struggling financially because the monthly £150,000 payments they should have received have not yet materialised.

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