Bristol Bears owner Steve Lansdown has advocated scrapping promotion and relegation from the rugby Premiership in order to strengthen the commercial viability of the league.
The financial services billionaire told the Mail on Sunday that there were only thirteen teams in the country with infrastructure of a Premiership standard, seen as vital to boosting the sport’s finances.
He said of scrapping promotion and relegation: “It’s got to happen. You’ve got 13 teams, including London Irish, with infrastructure that reaches Premiership standards.
“The Championship is a very competitive league, but, from a monetary point of view it’s a total disaster. What I’m in favour of is closing the Premiership but making sure clubs have the ability to be promoted later down the line, probably through a play-off with the bottom team in the Premiership.”