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Rob Baxter discusses ring-fencing the Gallagher Premiership

Promotion and relegation is back on the Premiership agenda as discussions take place over the feasibility of ring-fencing and expanding the league.

“I think it is wrong for me to make a comment on it because of the situation we have come from,” explained Rob Baxter on the Will Greenwood podcast.

“That does not mean there are not good arguments for and against for both scenarios. I understand them both, but if someone is going to ask me directly what I feel about ring-fencing, well I am always going to say that I feel uncomfortable with it. I don’t think there is one right answer and the challenge is for everyone to make the right decision.

“Myself and Tony Rowe (Exeter’s chief executive) have this conversation on a regular basis. Tony is a very successful businessman and wants to look at the scenario that is best for the Exeter Chiefs. He will look at the benefits of ring-fencing and look at the benefits of promotion and relegation.”

“I think it has more to do with the bigger picture rather than the block of teams in the relegation zone,” added Baxter.

“What prompts the debate is that the competition needs to grow – which normally relates to investment and money coming into the competition. There is the bigger picture to look at and if the clubs become bigger, the wages become bigger and the whole competition becomes more attractive to TV then can you still afford to have a promotion and relegation set-up?



“Ultimately you still want to be successful, you still want to win competitions. I am assuming (if ring-fencing happened) there would still be a salary cap and how we used that to create a good team on the field would still be an issue.

“Teams won’t be prepared to lose just because there is ring fencing, the pressure of relegation may ease a little bit, but at what stage will you say you are prepared to lose? If we say that teams will be prepared to lose, then it is not exactly going to be the best competition to watch is it?”

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