GP to increase matches

Top England players could face more domestic league action next season after the Guinness Premiership clubs agreed to examine further proposals on how to continue to see their game grow over the next few years. [more]

GP to increase matches

Top England players could face more domestic league action next season after the Guinness Premiership clubs agreed to examine further proposals on how to continue to see their game grow over the next few years.

Having agreed this week to freeze their annual £4m salary cap for the next two seasons, the club chairmen and shareholders of England’s top 12 clubs will meet again on Tuesday to consider ways in which to increase the number of games played in the Premiership.
While some were fearful that players might face salary cuts, Premier Rugby have moved to find ways to continue the growth of the club game in the current difficult economic climate.
Among those measures is a scheme to increase the number of Premiership fixtures. They also agreed to implement “a series of other cost control measures”.
As a consequence, the current Anglo-Welsh agreement could be lost as the EDF Energy Cup weekends would be required for Premiership fixtures.
Another option under consideration on Tuesday will be a possible expansion of the existing title play-off format, which presently uses a semi-finals and final system.
“Clubs and players were consulted in advance, and over the course of the meeting the chairmen reviewed a series of options,” said a Premier Rugby spokesman.
“They were particularly focused on the measures necessary to continue the growth of the club game over the next two years in a very difficult economic climate.
“It was concluded that the league should remain at 12 clubs; it was strongly reconfirmed that existing playing contracts should be honoured, but the salary cap would be frozen at £4m for the next two seasons and a series of other cost control measures would be implemented.
“In order to maintain the salary cap at the current level, avoid salary cuts and maintain jobs, Guinness Premiership fixtures must be increased, particularly over strong periods for the clubs and their supporters, such as Christmas and New Year.
“It is essential for the clubs to have a regular programme of Guinness Premiership fixtures that are highly regarded by our players and supporters, and deliver regular high-quality, great value matches to our supporters and other partners.”

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