Ealing’s Premiership dream is OVER as club withdraw appeal to join the top tier of English rugby due to being unable to meet minimum standards criteria despite winning the Championship this season
- Ealing Trailfinders withdrew appeal to join Gallagher Premiership on Friday
- Club won the Championship this season and were in position to be promoted
- But they did not meet Premiership’s minimum standards criteria
- The Trailfinders’ home ground can’t hold more than 10,000 fans
- Ealing had appealed to RFU but withdrew appeal and will not be promoted
- Gallagher Premiership will have only 13 teams next season
Ealing’s Gallagher Premiership dream is over after they withdrew their appeal to join the top tier of English rugby.
The Trailfinders finished as Championship winners this season leaving them in position for promotion to the Premiership for the first time. But the London club’s application to do just that was rejected by the Rugby Football Union on the basis they did not meet the Premiership’s minimum standards criteria for promotion.
Part of the problem was that Ealing’s home ground can’t hold more than 10,000 fans. The Trailfinders initially appealed the RFU decision but on Friday, both English rugby’s governing body and Ealing confirmed that has now been withdrawn.
Ealing won the Championship this season but will not be promoted to the Premiership
It means no team will be promoted to the Premiership for the 2022/23 season with the league remaining at 13 teams.
An RFU statement read: ‘Ealing Trailfinders has withdrawn its appeal of the decision of the RFU board that following an independent audit, the club’s facilities do not currently meet the professional game board minimum standards criteria required for promotion to the Gallagher Premiership.
‘The RFU has reiterated it will continue to collaborate with Championship clubs on the development of a sustainable Championship as well as a commitment of the professional game board to review standards relating to minimum capacity ahead of the audit process next season.’
An Ealing statement read: ‘We have decided not to continue the appeal with the RFU appointed panel. We are disappointed that having won the Championship, we will not be taking our rightful place in the Gallagher Premiership.
The Trailfinders do not meet the Premiership’s minimum standards criteria for promotion
We remain humbled and grateful for the enormous support we have received from the wider rugby public during this frustrating process.
‘Rest assured that Ealing Trailfinders remain more committed and passionate than ever in becoming a successful Premiership club and strongly believe in the circumstances we are dealt, this is our best route forward in achieving that at the earliest possible date.’
Ealing’s statement continued: ‘As part of this settlement the RFU has reiterated it will continue to collaborate with Championship clubs on the development of a sustainable Championship as well as a commitment of the professional game board to review standards relating to minimum capacity ahead of the audit process next season.
‘Ealing Trailfinders is confident the PGB, having reconsidered the matter, will want to reform the MSC to make promotion a real and affordable option for any and all Championship clubs.
Part of the reason is that their home ground (above) can’t hold more than 10,000 fans
‘In Ealing Trailfinders’ view, the number of spectators for promoted clubs must be grown sustainably and over time so that promoted sides or those with ambitions for promotion are not forced either into speculative, rapid, unsustainable and unnecessary spending on unused stands or facilities or into expensive and over specified ground share deals which take them away from their core fan base, employees, volunteers and communities.
‘Ealing Trailfinders expects the PGB’s review to carefully consider the case for reducing the required minimum capacity as well as allowing it to be achieved by newly promoted clubs in staggered increments, before adopting the MSC for the 2022/23 season.’
The Premiership and its current 13 sides had agreed that for next season they wanted 14 teams in the league, but that now won’t be the case. Premiership Rugby chief executive Simon Massie-Taylor confirmed as much to Sportsmail this week.
The club lodged an appeal with the Rugby Football Union but withdrew it on Friday
He said: ‘The intention from the clubs is for the Premiership to be a 14-team league and for it to happen as soon as possible.’
Massie-Taylor continued: ‘There is obviously a broader and longer term question as to what the right standards are for the Premiership.
‘Our position on the standards criteria is they need to remain high because we want to grow the league and its quality.
The Gallagher Premiership plan to hold matches at non-rugby venues and neutral grounds
‘Next year there is the opportunity for a Championship club to come up again.
‘For those who have aspirations to be in the Premiership – and Ealing and Doncaster have both expressed that – we need to have a conversation with them about how they intend to meet the standards.
‘That’s happened previously but I think there is even more of a push to make sure they can get everything in place in time.’
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