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Sale Sharks to partner with troubled Yorkshire Carnegie?

Yorkshire Carnegie

RIVAL clubs believe that Yorkshire Carnegie could still be relegated from the Championship even though their members have agreed a CVA.

Last Friday,  Carnegie released a statement to say that their CVA had been approved by a majority of 100 per cent.

Creditors were offered 15 pence in the pound but for players who’ve already signed new deals elsewhere that figure only applied to the difference in the value of the two contracts.

Around £1m in player wages will all be settled for a fraction of the sum, rumoured to be as little as £60,000.

But as Carnegie celebrated and a strategic arrangement with Sale Sharks was being discussed, supporters of Richmond asked if Carnegie still had a case to answer for their insolvency. Under RFU rules, a club can be deducted up to 28 points for poor financial management and such a sanction could reprieve Richmond who were relegated to National League One.

Carnegie’s statement read: “We will be building a new Yorkshire Carnegie squad that will be competing in the Greene King IPA Championship for the 2019-20 season. New arrangements will be agreed with a new playing squad, staff, sponsors and service providers.”

Those arrangements will need to be ratified by the RFU who have to be satisfied under duty-of-care to players that Carnegie would be able to put out a competitive team for early season games.

An RFU spokesperson said: “The RFU is in regular contact with Yorkshire Carnegie given the current financial position of the club.  Discussions are ongoing as to the club’s plans for next season and the funding it will have available.”

Meanwhile Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond and operations manager Paul Smith met with Carnegie officials last week to discuss ideas that might be of mutual benefit.

Diamond is keen to grow the Sharks brand across the North and one of the plans is to hold a select number of games at the recently renovated Headingley Stadium, Carnegie’s home ground.

Diamond is also keen to have an interchangeable player pathway between the clubs which would give academy players on both sides of the Pennines much-needed competitive game time.

Carnegie would be able to tap into a Sale Sharks player and coaching pool as they look to hastily assemble a squad and coaching team from scratch in time for the start of the 2019/2020 season, away to Nottingham in the Championship Cup on the weekend of September 20/21/22.

Carnegie have beaten the odds before in that respect, with Stuart Lancaster inheriting a squad of only seven players when he took charge in 2006 but the current situation is even more drastic. Not only do Carnegie not have any players, they are without an entire coaching/backroom team.

DoR Chris Stirling and head coach Steve Boden have returned to their former clubs, Cornish Pirates and Doncaster, respectively, and strength and conditioning and physio staff also need to be appointed. Meanwhile, academy coaches Richard Beck (Wasps) and Scott Barrow (Sedgley Park) have landed new jobs.

Oxford University’s long-serving head coach James Wades, formerly of Sale and Wasps, has been mentioned as frontrunner for the head coach role.

But there are concerns for Carnegie’s famed academy.  It is hard to see how the club can afford to satisfy RFU rules and put in £250,000 of their own money to help fund the academy.

JON NEWCOMBE

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