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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 16:45 UK

RFU reveals new National One plan

RFU chairman Martyn Thomas
Thomas thinks play-offs will be introduced in National One

The Rugby Football Union has revealed proposals showing how National League One could work as a professional division, supporting the Premiership.

RFU chairman Martyn Thomas told BBC London 94.9: "The winner would be promoted to the Premiership as a result of play-offs.

"The play-off games result in the ultimate winner and they will gain promotion to the Premiership."

Part of the deal would see National One reduced from 16 to 12 clubs.

Speaking on BBC London's The Scrum programme, Thomas explained that First Division Rugby Ltd (FDR), which represents the National One clubs, had rejected a proposal put forward by the RFU on Wednesday.

"We've offered them an increase in funding, it's insufficient in their eyes and I understand that," he said.

"The RFU is never going to be able to give them the kind of funding they would like."

FDR is now understood to have put together a proposal for the RFU and Thomas is confident the matter will be resolved soon.

"We started this process in January, it's taken a bit longer than we thought but I want to bring this to a conclusion next week," he said.

London Welsh chief executive Peter Thomas, whose side were fifth in National One going into Saturday's fixture programme, attended Wednesday's meeting between FDR and the RFU.

The league can't continue as it is. There's too big a gap between those clubs at the top and the bottom - it's uncompetitive

London Welsh chief executive Peter Thomas
"He added: "I don't know how much longer it will take. We need to move forward, the league needs to move forward, and the sooner we get clarity the better.

"The biggest fear for me is that the restructuring doesn't happen and we stay as we are.

"As we've seen this year, the league can't continue as it is. There's too big a gap between those clubs at the top and the bottom - it's uncompetitive."

Meanwhile clubs in the leagues below National One are left waiting to find out how their funding and league structures will be affected.

Shaun Justice, director of rugby at National League Three South side Rosslyn Park, admitted that the situation is worrying.

He said: "We don't really know what's going on, we've had about 10 different scenarios mentioned to us.

"Until the RFU and FDR decide exactly what they're doing unfortunately for Division Two and Division Three clubs, we're left in the dark.

"We'd just like it cleared up as soon as possible so we can plan for the future."

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see also
Fears over RFU funding 'changes'
04 Sep 08 |  English
Schmid fears relegation for Esher
30 Sep 08 |  Rugby Union

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