We emphasised in our last statement our principled objections to a franchise or selection-based Tier 2. Rather than seek to discuss these objections and others, the RFU has chosen to threaten us with effective relegation to the National Leagues for non-compliance, while ignoring the unresolved questions on governance, commercial strategy, promotion/relegation, player welfare and the player development pathway. We have offered alternative proposals on the way forward to the Board without response.

The current RFU plan to present any recommendation to Council is extremely premature, until such fundamental issues are addressed and consensus reached so that the game can move forward via agreement rather than ultimatum. We would appeal to Council not to approve any plans for Tier 2 until our proposals are discussed in detail and there is full clarity on these fundamental issues.

We have discussed this matter with Sport England because without further clarity on funding and governance, it will be impossible to ensure that Championship clubs are able to repay their Covid loans. We believe they share our concerns.

We believe that no club can place value on a process involving expressions of interest when there is so little necessary detail.However, we can only act for ourselves: consequently the 11 current Championship clubs request that the Board sets an urgent date to hear in full our amended proposals – proposals which share all of the RFU’s objectives, albeit reached via different routes which we consider achievable, pragmatic and full of vision for the future growth of the game.