Promotion issue stalls clubs' push for cash

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The Independent Online

English First Division Rugby, which represents the leading 12 clubs, has presented Twickenham with an interim deal aimed at getting their financially troubled members out of trouble.

English First Division Rugby, which represents the leading 12 clubs, has presented Twickenham with an interim deal aimed at getting their financially troubled members out of trouble.

Premiership clubs are still waiting for long-promised monies from the Rugby Football Union, a sum which now amounts to £450,000.

The problem, as ever, is the issue of promotion and relegation between the Zurich Premiership and clubs in the newly designated National Division One (formerly Division Two).

An RFU spokesperson said every effort was being made to reach a solution, adding: "We are still trying to broker a deal between EFDR and ESDR [the Second Division clubs' equivalent] and talks are ongoing."

Howard Thomas, chief executive of EFDR said: "We have proposed an interim deal with the Union, whereby some of the money owed is released to the clubs before the RFU obtains agreement from all parties on its deal for the game."

Unfortunately the deal has to be presented to the management board of the RFU and the next meeting is not scheduled for another 10 days. The longer it goes on the tighter things become for the clubs.

Steve Cousins, director of rugby at newly promoted Rotherham, said yesterday: "If the clubs do not take some kind of action then we will be stuck up the garden path for ever.

"Here at Rotherham we are managing by the skin of our teeth."

To date no mention is being made by the clubs of possible sanctions they might take, but the most obvious time would be in November when England need players for the autumn internationals against Australia, Argentina and South Africa.

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