Warren says RFU's offer is unacceptable

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The Independent Online
English rugby's slow and agonising shuffle towards a lasting peace suffered yet another interruption yesterday when Frank Warren, the millionaire boxing promoter and a major investor at Second Division Bedford, predicted that 11 of the 12 clubs in Courage League Two would reject the agreement hammered out with the Rugby Football Union, the sport's governing body, writes Chris Hewett.

Warren's claim came as an unpleasant surprise to leading figures in the English Professional Rugby Union Clubs, the club's pressure group, who believed that they were just days away from a final agreement.

No sooner had Sir John Hall, owner of Newcastle, pledged to continue his fight for greater control over television rights in the courts than Warren has laid another landmine on the road to compromise.

"We want a minimum of pounds 250,000 per club, per annum," he said, insisting that the current RFU offer, almost pounds 650,000 for each Second Division club over the next three years, was unacceptable. However, one Epruc source said most of Warren's alleged rebels were keen to settle by the end of next week as a means of releasing RFU funds into some overdrawn bank accounts.