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RFU and Premiership executives to face parliamentary enquiry over club game’s viability

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The RFU and Premiership Rugby face a parliamentary enquiry after two Gallagher Premiership teams went into administration in the past three weeks.

Worcester Warriors and Wasps have both fallen into administration with their players and staff losing their jobs. If Wasps are relegated from the Premiership, the league will drop from 13 clubs to 11 this season.

Following news of Wasps heading into administration on Monday, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced Tuesday it will question both the RFU, the national governing body in charge of rugby in England, and PRL, the body in charge of the English topflight amid concerns over the future of the sport.

A statement from the DCMS said the session “will examine issues around the financial structure and viability of the game. It will also look at the role of the national governing body and topflight organising body in supporting clubs and ensuring the health of the sport.”

The hearing will take place in November.

“The fact that two of the country’s top clubs have now suffered the fate of falling into administration raises serious concerns about the future of the sport and its financial viability,” DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said.

“The RFU and Premiership Rugby have acknowledged the need to set a more sustainable path for club rugby.

“We will be pressing them to ensure they are putting the foundations in place to guarantee the health of the sport from the top level right down to the grassroots.”

The DCMS awarded Premiership rugby clubs loans during the pandemic as part of the survival package for sports. But the disruption to this campaign has been stark, with two of the 13 teams in administration and players and staff now looking for new jobs mid-season.

“It is sickening,” Wasps coach Lee Blackett said Monday.

“I am extremely sad. Seeing how upset the guys were is devastating. There’s players and staff who wanted to play Premiership rugby this year and unless something happens extremely quickly, I cannot see how that can happen.”

In response to the announcement by the DCMS, a Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “Premiership Rugby is committed to working with our clubs, the RFU, and other stakeholders to address the challenges facing the professional game and put in place stronger foundations for the future. We look forward to updating the Committee on the progress of this crucially important work.”

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