RWC organisers confident of settling Premiership row

Rugby World Cup organisers say that they are confident that an argument between the Rugby Football Union and leading Premiership clubs will not detract from next year’s World Cup in England.

Premiership Rugby who represent England’s 12 leading clubs are said to have asked for £14 million ($23 million, 18 million euros) in compensation for stopping the Premiership in September and October while the world cup takes place.

The International Rugby Board have a rule that no elite club rugby is staged while the Rugby World Cup is being staged so the Premiership will have to be paused.

However the Premiership clubs said that they could lose £1.2m each if the league is shut down.

According to reports the RFU has offered £6m to Premier Rugby but on the condition that players are released for further home Tests. The RFU and Premiership Rugby have an agreement on the release of players and this comes up for renewal in 2016.

Rugby World Cup organisers England Rugby 2015’s chief executive Debbie Jevans says that he is optimistic an agreement can be reached.

“I’m not party to the negotiations between the RFU and the Premiership, and nor should I be,” said Jevans on Tuesday as she announced the team base venues for the World Cup.

“All I can say is that there are good relations between us and the Premiership clubs – two of them are hosting games in Gloucester and Exeter, (London) Irish are also a team base – so the relationships there are good.

“I am absolutely confident that there won’t be any disruption to what we do.

“We are working with them on the schedule in 2015.”

Jevans comments come after Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen insisted that playing Premiership matches while the world cup is running is still an option for the clubs.

“Until suitable compensation is agreed we should look to play through the World Cup,” he said.

“There are ongoing talks between Premiership Rugby and the RFU, but the World Cup was an agreement between the IRB and RFU to which weren’t a party, so to simply expect us to close down our businesses is simply not acceptable.

“It’s like going back to the bad old days of serfdom and everybody is extremely angry that this agreement was entered into with an expectation that we would shut down.”

The relationship between the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership clubs has greatly improved in recent years and although the future of the domestic game was in turmoil earlier this year the two bodies have avoided a spat like the one happening in Wales.

However the issue of closing the Premiership down for almost two months is a potential source of friction.

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said earlier this year that the issue of World Cup compensation needs to be sorted out.

In recent years English rugby has largely avoided the bitter rows between the national governing body and its leading clubs that have bedevilled the game in Wales

“The RFU should sort that out properly – and haven’t yet,” said Wray.

“Ian Ritchie (the RFU chief executive) is a decent man and, in all fairness, we should be able to reach an accommodation.”

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