English clubs bid to join Pro14
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: England second-tier clubs are exploring the prospect to join PRo14, according to reports.
Rugbypass reported that Championship club Ealing Trailfinders – currently sitting second on the table with an eye on Premiership promotion – are currently examining the possibility of joining Welsh, Irish, Italian, Scottish and South African sides in the PRO14.
Travel company founder Mike Gooley has invested £25m in the club, helping to steer the club’s rise from lower leagues to the Championship.
However, after reports surfaced that the Premiership will move away from a promotion and relegation model, the second-tier clubs have revealed their ambitions to potentially play elsewhere.
Ealing, Nottingham, Coventry and Cornish Pirates have also revealed that they are ready to hit the courtroom if the Premiership changes its model.
“This business of ring-fencing is absolutely counter to the spirit of sport. It might also be unlawful,” Gooley told The Daily Mail after reports the Premiership would scrap the relegation system.
“Some Championship sides have invested a lot of money with the possibility that they could reach the Premiership.
“Our first aspiration would be to play in the Premiership.
“Perhaps the PRO14 would be a second aspiration. We have looked at the PRO14 because they would accept our stadium.
“I haven’t written cheques to accelerate us straight into the Premiership but if we need to spend £7million, then I’m good for it.”
As for aspirations of joining the PRO14, competition chiefs have already revealed plans to expand the competition further, having recently expanded to 14 teams after adding South Africa’s Southern Kings and Cheetahs.
The possible addition of three more South African sides has been mentioned, though the expansion may come from somewhere closer to home after Gooley’s statement.