Friday February 27th, 2015

A majority of Aviva Premiership rugby clubs support a proposal that would expand the league to 14 teams from 12 for the start of the 2016-17 season and eliminate promotion and relegation, according to a report from The Telegraph.

The proposal, which reportedly was first raised at a meeting of club shareholders and owners in February, will need the full support of the 14 clubs who own shares in the Premiership and approval from the Rugby Football Union, the report says. 

Details of the proposed new league format have yet to be revealed, according to the report.

“There is real momentum behind this,” one club source said. “This can be a watershed moment for the professional game. We are still at the early stages and there are a lot of hurdles to overcome, but if it comes off this would provide the platform for the top flight of ­English rugby to move to the next level. This is a now-or-never moment.”

The current "heads of agreement" between the Rugby Football Union and the Aviva Premiership calls for promotion and relegation, but the agreement is set to expire in 2016.

The Aviva Premiership currently comprises 12 clubs. League rules stipulate that the club that finishes last after 22 rounds of play is relegated to the RFU Championship. 

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