Terry Burwell has revealed the RFU are considering monitoring clubs’ finances in a bid to end the problems that have blighted the inaugural Championship season.
Speaking exclusively to The Post, the union’s director of tournaments and competitions announced what would be a controversial move in the wake of last week’s saga in which Coventry became the third level two outfit to go under.
The Blue and Whites’ move into administration followed that of London Welsh in June and the liquidation of Birmingham & Solihull that is threatening to distort the relegation picture.
With more on the line than ever before, a funding drop of £300,000 for the relegated team, there is considerable disquiet that a club which has managed itself appropriately could lose out in the end of season play-offs.
And there are also criticisms that what was supposed to be a professionally run new league is descending into farce with concerns around one or two other sides in the 12-team division. Which is why the governing body wants to make sure this situation does not arise again.
“We are all aware, not just in terms of outstanding debt but also in terms of how clubs manage themselves with VAT and other issues, there is grounds for us to think very carefully about how we monitor and evaluate clubs’ finances,” Burwell said. “In France they have a very clear cut system where you have to declare you budget at the start of the season and you are audited throughout the season and if you don’t comply you are in big trouble. We can’t afford other clubs to be able to compromise the success of those clubs who are getting it right.”
Burwell said the union was also worried about National League clubs.
“The difficulty is once you have borrowed against your asset you can’t borrow against it again and we have seen many clubs effectively dispose of their assets in trying to chase a financial dream,” he added.