Saints chairman White gives his views on possibility of Premiership ring-fencing

Saints chairman John White believes ring-fencing the Premiership is a sensible ideaSaints chairman John White believes ring-fencing the Premiership is a sensible idea
Saints chairman John White believes ring-fencing the Premiership is a sensible idea | Getty
Saints chairman John White believes the Covid-19 pandemic could give another push to the idea of ring-fencing the Gallagher Premiership.

With clubs facing increased challenges following the recent inaction on the rugby field, some sort of financial certainty has become more important than ever.

Ring-fencing has long been mooted for England's top tier, with clubs keen to take the threat of relegation off the table.

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And when asked whether Covid-19 had brought the prospect of sealing off the Premiership more likely, White told Saints' online season ticket holders' forum: "It has become more likely, partly because of the pandemic and partly because of the way rugby has been moving.

"Prior to the pandemic, the RFU announced there was less money to go to the Championship and so I think the gap between Premier Rugby and Championship rugby had moved apart and I suspect that the pandemic has widened that even further.

"I talked about the financial challenges we have, the Championship clubs have a lower level of player costs and all the other running costs and that's become even more challenging because of the pandemic.

"I'm an ex-sportsman and I love the cut and thrust of relegation battles and naturally anyone who watches sport would want to see relegation and promotion take place, but we've got to look beyond that and it could be about survival of several clubs if we don't get this right.

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"And one of the areas that can benefit those clubs is having certainty that they will remain in the PRL whether they finish top or bottom because that's where the finances are aimed at.

"Financially I think it would make a lot of sense if the league is sealed off and although I'm not privvy to any real inside knowledge on it, I think common sense will prevail.

"We have to forfeit the relegation perhaps to maintain and sustain rugby clubs such as our own and others and I think it will come.

"And I think it should come sooner rather than later so we can settle everything down post-pandemic.

"It's quite a long answer but it's one I feel quite attached to."