Championship leaders Ealing will NOT be promoted to the Premiership – even if they win the division, the RFU has ruled, as they say the club were unable to meet their standards criteria to become the 12th top-flight team
- The RFU ruled Ealing do not meet the criteria for promotion to the Premiership
- Teams must tick certain boxes in order to be eligible to play in the top-flight
- It all means the Premiership will stay in its current form for the 2023/24 season
The Gallagher Premiership is set to remain a closed shop of 11 teams after the RFU ruled Championship leaders Ealing do not meet the criteria for promotion to the top-flight.
Rules enforced by English rugby’s governing body mean a team must tick certain boxes in order to be eligible to play in the Premiership.
They include having a stadium with a capacity of more than 10,000. Ambitious Ealing – who currently sit top of the Championship, a point ahead of Jersey – applied to have their facilities assessed.
But the RFU said on Monday: ‘Ealing were not able to evidence the necessary licensed capacity, supported by a safety certificate or planning permission to achieve a capacity of over 10,000.
‘Ealing are therefore not eligible for promotion to the Premiership at the end of season 2022/23.’
Championship leaders Ealing will NOT be promoted to the Premiership, the RFU has ruled
The RFU did pass Doncaster’s potential promotion and said the northern club satisfied their minimum standards criteria.
But the Knights, who are currently fifth in the Championship and 23 points behind Ealing, are unlikely to finish top of the table this season making promotion close to impossible.
It all means the Premiership will stay in its current form for the 2023-24 season.
English rugby’s top-flight had been made up of 13 teams. But it dropped to 11 after the demise of Worcester and Wasps last year.
Meanwhile, the renaming of Stourbridge RFC by the Atlas Consortium – who took over Worcester before making the former Premiership team defunct – has hit further problems.
Atlas leaders Jim O’Toole and James Sandford controversially last week revealed they wanted to rebrand Stourbridge as Sixways Rugby after admitting Worcester as a club was no more.
Stourbridge members met on Friday night and the mood of the meeting was overwhelmingly against the Atlas proposals, not least because O’Toole and Sandford were unable to provide any indication as to how much their ‘commercial investment’ might be.
Any renaming or takeover of Stourbridge would require RFU approval while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – who supported Worcester financially before their demise – has also expressed its deep concern at Atlas’ proposals.
Ealing – who currently sit top of the Championship – applied to have their facilities assessed
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