EFDR believes it is wholly unacceptable that the RFU maintains that they are merely a broker in the ongoing promotion/relegation issue. This issue arises from the RFU’s own Club England/Rob Andrew plan (as accepted by EFDR) and indeed RFU policy remains at ‘ring-fencing’ for 2 years followed by play-offs. EFDR subsequently persuaded the RFU to moderate its views on promotion/relegation to that of a play-off between the top two divisions.

EFDR and the RFU management team has reached agreement on all significant matters still outstanding including promotion/relegation and indeed such agreement was approved in principle by the RFU management board on the 20th September 2000.

EFDR calls on the RFU Management board to stand by this agreement reached with EFDR and by its stated objectives* and have the conviction to sell them to ESDR, the RFU Council and the rest of the game.

EFDR finds the attached statement from the RFU extraordinary and the suggestion of bringing in a professional facilitator to be an unacceptable abdication of their responsibilities as the governing body of the sport.

Finally, EFDR is happy to accept a £1.2million cash-flow payment from the RFU which amounts to £100,000 per club – still only a fraction of the cash-flow hole created by the RFU failing to live up to its promises.

*Objective of the Club England/Rob Andrew Plan

‘The objective is to completely restructure ‘elite English Club Rugby’ so as to create financial viability and stability for the clubs by maximising revenue for elite club rugby whilst creating a sound platform on which world class English national teams at all levels can be created.’

For more information: Cohn & Wolfe, Tel 0207 331 5300


The RFU Management Board has proposed an initiative aimed at resolving the outstanding issue of promotion and relegation between EFDR and ESDR.

The RFU will invite all 26 clubs in EFDR and ESDR to a meeting with the RFU supported by professional and independent facilitators. The objective will be to broker an agreement between the clubs in the two divisions on promotion and relegation together with an associated long term funding package. The appointment of the independent facilitators is a priority and the meeting will be held at an independent venue as soon as a date can be agreed and arranged with the clubs. Any agreement reached will be in conformity with AGM Resolution 9A (which requires 2/3rds majority of clubs in each division) and will be submitted to the RFU Council for approval on October 27th.

Brian Baister, Chairman of the RFU Management Board said today ‘We received a briefing from the RFU negotiating team today on the status of the promotion and relegation issue. We recognised that the RFU had taken the talks as far as it could in its role as a facilitator between EFDR and ESDR. Like our clubs in both divisions we want a solution to this issue as quickly as possible and we believe that professional facilitators can only assist in this process.

‘We hope that the clubs will recognise that appointing an independent third party who has specialist skills in resolving major and difficult issues is the right way forward. An agreement must be achieved in order to ensure the long term stability of our game and to forge a partnership that will ensure that we can develop a world cup winning national side and a club game, which is a world leader, at all levels.

In addition the RFU Management Board agreed to advance payments of £1.2m to EFDR against existing contract entitlements to ease any short term cash flow problems for the clubs pending an agreement on the Andrew’s plan proposal.

RFU Media Office: Tel: 0208 831 6513/6514/6558/6626