Gallagher Premiership: RFU Council to vote on scrapping relegation this season
If the vote is approved it would pave the way for the league to be expanded from 12 to 13 teams for the 2021/2022 campaign; enforced cancellation of matches and the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic have promoted the move amid a growing feeling that relegation would be unfair
Last Updated: 05/02/21 10:32am
A vote on whether to suspend relegation from the Gallagher Premiership has been delayed, the Rugby Football Union has announced.
The RFU's council was due to decide on Friday whether the top flight should be temporarily ringfenced to provide clubs with security amid the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal is for the Premiership to expand to 13 teams to include the winners of this season's Green King IPA Championship, most likely Saracens.
"Late last night (Thursday) Premiership Rugby requested more time to conclude its consultation with stakeholders. Therefore the vote will now be delayed," an RFU statement read.
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The enforced cancellation of Premiership matches and the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic have promoted the potential move amid a growing feeling that relegation would be unfair.
The situation is further complicated as the Championship season remains in doubt. It is scheduled to begin on March 6 but several clubs say they won't take part as it's not financially viable.
Premiership clubs are also feeling the financial implications, with five matches this season having already been postponed because of Covid-19 outbreaks.
Suspending relegation and promoting this year's Championship winners would end any possibility of a consistently Covid-affected team being relegated.
Gloucester are currently bottom of the Premiership having won just once so far this season. They are three points behind Worcester in 11th.