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Mennaye return possible - Coward

Camborne Recreation Ground
The Pirates may leave Camborne if the league shake-up goes ahead

Cornish Pirates say they may have to return to the Mennaye Field if plans for a new-look English league system are implemented.

The Rugby Football Union wants to introduce a fully professional 12-team Championship to replace the current National League Division One.

Pirates chief executive Rod Coward said they would need an extra 300,000 next year to compete in the new structure.

And he said the club may have to leave Camborne to return to Mennaye Field.

Coward said in a statement that the Pirates were financially solvent for this season but they had been let down by a major sponsor, who were yet to provide financial support.

He said the shortfall for this season had been met by club president Dicky Evans, but admitted competing in the Championship with a fully professional team would require around a further 300,000.

Coward said: "If this extra 300,000 cannot be raised for next season and for the future seasons, so long as we remain in the Championship, then the Cornish Pirates will have no alternative but to decline to be a part of Elite Rugby and to return to the Mennaye with a consequent drastic impact on our playing and future prospects.

"None of us want this as we have achieved a tremendous amount in the last few years.

The level of funding currently being offered by the RFU is not significantly different to that we receive now

Cornish Pirates chief executive Rod Coward

"Playing at The Rec (Camborne) and using the Mennaye and Westholme as our base has worked brilliantly, generating large crowds, growing the brand and bringing rugby of a level not seen before on a continuous basis to Cornwall."

Coward said the club would be embarking on a series of fund-raising initiatives to try and prevent the Pirates suffering the financial difficulties experienced by fellow National League One clubs, including Nottingham and Coventry.

And he admitted he had doubts about the proposals, which will be discussed by the RFU Council on Friday.

"The level of funding currently being offered by the RFU is not significantly different to that we receive now and given that any additional monies from cup competitions or sponsorship are by no means guaranteed, it means that clubs are being asked to commit to something that is, at best, tenuous," Coward added.



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