Head of Premiership Rugby, Ian Ritchie has rubbished suggestions of an ongoing feud with the governing body (RFU) over the issue of scrapping promotion and relegation.
Ritchie’s comments come after The Mail on Sunday reported that Premiership Rugby bosses are threatening to break away from the RFU and start their own independent league.
There has reportedly been a year of tension between the two bodies because the RFU refuse to scrap promotion and relegation between the top tier leagues.
Ritchie described the claims of a ‘civil war’ as “ridiculous”.
You would expect all boards to discuss issues like Premiership promotion and relegation and we’ve been doing that for some time,” Ritchie told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweekon Sunday.
“But to be clear as well, we’ve got an eight-year agreement with the RFU.
“We’ve worked very closely in partnership with them and we’ve not put any proposals to them about this yet, and nor have we finalised our own.”
“What we need to do is consider this further and it’s a bit precipitous to say there’s a rift between us. We work closely in partnership and I believe that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’ve not started to have any conversations and finalise our views on this so to suggest a civil war is imminent is, frankly, ridiculous.” Added the former RFU chief executive.
With regards to the issue of promotion and relegation, Ritchie highlighted the NFL as an example of a sporting body who continues to thrive despite not having such systems in place.
“We all have views over the years of promotion and relegation, what happened with teams going up or down. But the uncertainty of that and how it works – we need to consider all these matters further,” Ritchie said.
“There are plenty of models around the world were where it works, the NFL being a classic example. How does it work with the economics of the game? How does it work with the sporting aspects?
“These are complex matters and we’ve been discussing these for sometime. We’ll continue to discuss them. That’s right and proper.”