3 Mar 2009

Credit crunch forces relegation rethink in England

10:27 am on 3 March 2009

An eight-year agreement between the Rugby Union and the English clubs could be torn up after less than a season because of the global financial crisis.

An RFU spokesman says all financial aspects of the game will be discussed at a meeting of the management board and Premiership clubs tonight.

It's reported automatic promotion and relegation to and from the Premiership will be one of the issues on the agenda.

Management board chairman Martyn Thomas promotion and relegation is written into the contract for eight years and they understand clubs are facing critical problems.

Clubs have argued that it is impossible to make financial plans while the spectre of relegation looms.

One theory is that they will ask for a suspension of promotion and relegation in return for a cut in the numbers of overseas players they register.