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Championship clubs hit out at RFU
ESPN Staff
June 28, 2012
London Welsh celebrate winning the RFU Championship final, London Welsh v Cornish Pirates, RFU Championship final second leg, Kassam Stadium, Oxford, England, May 30, 2012
London Welsh took the RFU Championship in 2012 © Getty Images
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Teams: England

The RFU Championship clubs have accused the Rugby Football Union of failing to deliver the funding they promised following the re-vamping of English rugby's second tier.

The clubs claim that they are each owed £77k for the last three seasons based on an agreement struck with the governing body when the league was reduced from 16 teams to 12 back in 2009.

The RFU reportedly promised initial funding of £2.3m plus £1m from Premier Rugby for eight years but is has since stressed that these figures - £295,000 per club in 2009-10 rising to £400,000 in 2015-16 - were only estimates. The Daily Telegraph also reports that under a new agreement proposed by the RFU, the clubs could be faced with a further £120k shortfall.

The newspaper details that Championship clubs were expecting to receive £400k in 2015-16 but following a new offer from the RFU, the new proposal would see them get £359.4k. With the two bodies seemingly at loggerheads, Championship chairman Geoff Irvine has called on the organising body to "honour" their original commitment.

"All of the clubs in the Championship are busily preparing for the new season but we are being constantly hampered by the RFU's refusal to deliver what they promised," said Irvine. "Every club in the league has embraced the format in spite of the concerns that were allayed prior to its inception and everybody can see the impact that the Championship has on Premiership and international rugby.

"No one would argue the fact that playing standards have risen and that the dual-registration scheme has proven a success with many Premiership teams clambering at the opportunity of their youngsters playing in such a demanding environment. What is of particular concern to the clubs though is that the RFU refuses to fulfil its responsibilities to the Championship when it 'owns' the competition.

"The RFU has not kept the promises that it made and if we want to see standards improve then we need to have a commitment that is honoured."

An RFU spokesman told the newspaper that they had put forward "a good proposal that not only includes an increase on last season but also runs for four years, offering stability of funding."

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