Walkinshaw looks for RFU meeting
Tom Walkinshaw is intent on meeting with RFU officials this month to discuss his proposals for a British league.
Gloucester boss Walkinshaw and his fellow Premiership One club owners gathered today, when next season's proposed franchised competition was discussed. The Walkinshaw blueprint is for a 16-team league comprising English, Welsh and Scottish sides, funded by a five-year sponsorship and television package.
But there is also a document from the Club England Taskforce, chaired by Rob Andrew, currently being debated, which features a 12-team English League played in one block, followed by European competition and then the Six Nations Championship.
Andrew's first draft proposal has already received an airing, and is due for further discussion by the Rugby Football Union management board on January 26. English First Division Rugby, the umbrella organisation representing all 12 Premiership One clubs, announced tonight that they want an input at the same meeting.
"This matter is now of great urgency," said an EFDR statement. "Tom Walkinshaw (EFDR chairman), Keith Barwell (Northampton chairman), Peter Wheeler (Leicester chief executive) and Howard Thomas (acting chief executive of EFDR) have been mandated to take this matter forward."
"They are available to meet any RFU group at any time this month, and have now officially requested to the president, chairman and chief executive of the RFU that the EFDR group are given the opportunity to present to the RFU management board on January 26, and RFU Council on February 4, to discuss all proposals. The owners will then meet again on February 8."
EFDR also say they have agreed, at the RFU's request, to allow further time for the alternative Andrew plan to be costed.
The RFU said tonight that its chairman, Brian Baister, had no objection to meeting the EFDR group, but would need to discuss it with his management board colleagues