RFU announces cut to Championship funding
Last Updated: 12/02/20 7:02pm
The RFU (Rugby Football Union) will reduce its funding to the Championship by almost half from next season after a number of "objectives and deliverables" were not achieved.
The new agreement will see the governing body return funding to pre-2016 levels - before the current agreement was put in place.
Next season's arrangement will see the RFU provide approximately £288,000 to each of the 12 clubs in the division.
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney explained funding had been cut owing to a lack of return on the increased investment, and argued the Championship does not play a key role in developing players for the England team.
He said: "This is a decision based on a principle of ensuring levels of investment are geared to a clear return on investment. We need to make sure that every pound spent is clearly justified.
"The decision taken in 2015 to increase Championship funding significantly was against a set of objectives and deliverables that we do not believe have been achieved.
"Ultimately the difference in the levels of funding between the current agreement and our new commitment will not be the deciding factor for clubs with aspirations for promotion and will always require additional investment.
"The gateway is still open for clubs to get into the Premiership if they have the necessary financial resources and meet the minimum standards required.
"The Championship is, and will continue to be, a useful way for players to get additional developmental experience, but we do not believe it is the primary place where Premiership and England players are discovered and developed."
As with the previous agreement, elements of the funding will be ring-fenced and increased for player medical insurance, and will be conditional on meeting England Qualified Player targets.
London Scottish, who are second-bottom of the Championship, expressed disappointment with the RFU's decision.
A statement read: "The RFU's decision to halve the funding to the Championship will result in fundamental changes to the league and its clubs.
"The chairman, president and management at London Scottish will be in immediate consultation with all stakeholders to achieve the most positive outcome for the players and staff at the club."
Nottingham chairman Alistair Bow strongly condemned the RFU's decision, saying: "The Nottingham Rugby board are extremely disappointed with the RFU announcement and subsequent reduction in funding.
"We are even more disappointed and somewhat astounded at the underhand and deplorable way that we feel this has been communicated."