RFU: Future Competitions Plan

After a huge, and very comprehensive study, the RFU has published its report into the future of Club compeitions in England.

A copy of the entire report can be downloaded via this link. Minety RFC will put its thoughts on the structure in due course, but in the meantime, here is the RFU’s introduction:

“This plan recognises the significant opportunity for rugby to develop an optimal playing offer and structure that protects the future health of the Game for adult men. It aims to meet the needs of current and future players, balancing quality of experience and player welfare needs with less travel, whist at the same time protecting the sustainability of clubs.

It sets out a series of proposals for the adult male competition structure of the English Club Championship from Level 3 (National One) downwards based on the work of the Future Competitions Structure (FCS) group, which is a task group of the RFU Community Game Board. This work follows on from collection of extensive evidence and engagement with the Game over a number of months, which has provided critical insight into the challenges identified.

Over the last ten years, whilst rugby union generally continues to buck the downward participation trend seen in some other team sports, there is an accepted view from all available evidence that it is the female and age grade sectors of the Game that are supporting this. In the male game whilst the playing pool continues to grow, players are playing less often, and have different wants and needs, which is set against relatively little change in the way competitive rugby is delivered. Generally more players are required to fulfil a 1st XV league season, which can have a corresponding negative effect on Lower XVs and the club.

Whilst it is recognised that different levels of the community game and regions have different challenges and opportunities, the general question as to whether the competitive structure we have is the best one to ensure the future health of the Game, has raised its head in Club and Constituent Body forums throughout the last few years.

Whilst being mindful of the current challenges that may come with COVID-19, this plan recommends that now is the right time for change and to put these proposals to the Game in this document for further feedback and for implementation in season 2021/22.”

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