The chairmen of the 12 Aviva Premiership clubs, as well as representatives from Leeds and Bristol, met in London yesterday and agreed to remain steadfast in their desire to "pursue other options". In a repeat of 1998-99, the decision leaves England's clubs isolated from the rest of Europe from next season.
Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premier Rugby, refused to detail those "options", but an expanded Premiership with Championship or Welsh sides, or a competition involving South African provinces, are possibilities. "The clubs are financially in a better position next season than they are for 2013-14 because of our TV deal and other uplifts in revenue," McCafferty said, referencing a lucrative contract with BT Sport.
"Financially 2014-15 has never been an issue. The clubs don't have to focus on short-term solutions. We have a busy six or seven weeks ahead and we'll call the clubs back in mid-January to take the next lot of decisions."