English 1st and 2nd Division clubs are beginning to run out of money and with
no prospect of agreement between EPRUC, their representative body, and the RFU
the pinch is on.
Bristol are the latest to announce a short term fix with their Chairman
loaning them 1m interest free to enable wage bills to be met. Others without
rich backers may not be so fortunate in the weeks ahead.
With no agreement the RFU is witholding cash from the clubs and with EPRUC
allowing their players to represent England (but not the Divisional sides) the
immediate pressure is off the RFU and they seem to be playing a waiting game.
Whether this will concentrate the minds of EPRUC remains to be seen but it
will certainly increase pressure on them from their members.
The Welsh senior clubs, until now happy to follow in the steps of EPRUC in
their efforts to win control of the game at the highest level from the Union,
gave in to mounting financial pressure 2 weeks ago and signed a deal with the
WRU guaranteeing themselves 200,000.
A spokesman for EPRUC was of the opinion that this was a temporary measure and
when (if) the English clubs win control from the RFU 'the Welsh clubs will
join with us tomorrow' in setting up their own TV, European Competition and
Anglo-Welsh deals independent of the WRU.
The RFU, meantime, commented that a fund of 8m was available to EPRUC members
immediately, provided they signed a deal allowing the RFU to control the game
in England, in partnership with EPRUC.
As the clubs run out of money to pay inflated wage bills it will be
interesting to see if the RFU's siege of EPRUC will take very long to be