RFU to discuss plans to shake-up the structure of adult male rugby competitions

PUBLISHED: 14:25 05 June 2020

The structure of the male adult season could be changed with new proposals from the RFU. Picture: KARYN HADDON

The structure of the male adult season could be changed with new proposals from the RFU. Picture: KARYN HADDON


Potential changes to the rugby union season for adult males will be discussed over the summer before final proposals are communicated later in the year.

The plan issued from the RFU is designed with players and clubs in mind and comes off the back of a survey in January looking at the structure of competitions which attracted over 6,000 responses.

The RFU will share some of their thoughts, which include reduced league sizes, the introduction of break weekends and a reorganisation to minimise travel, in a series on nine online webinars running throughout June.

A range of options for future competition structures have been considered against the four important principles used for evaluating and assessing the benefits of change.

These are that the competition structure is player-centric, is considerate of the time and distance involved in playing fixtures, enhances the player’s experience and the integrity of the competition and is supportive of the financial and sustainability of participating clubs.

Bill Sweeney, the chief executive officer of the RFU, said: “We can see from participation trends and data that players are playing less fixtures each season and are choosing to play fewer matches for a number of lifestyle reasons.

“Demands on players’ time through changing socio-economic factors is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Our current playing offer puts pressure on players and clubs to fulfil fixtures, undermining the sustainability of the game.

“We now have the opportunity to establish a competition structure across the game to serve the interests of all of our players and clubs and underpin our game for the future.”

Any final decision will be made at the meeting of the RFU council on October 2 ahead of implementation in the 2021-2022 season.

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