The RFU Championship 2012-13 'launch' took place at Twickenham on Tuesday, where the Cornish Pirates were represented by skipper Gavin Cattle and team manager Chris 'Jan' Rendall.
The revised RFU Championship funding structure was also unveiled at the season launch.
Following extensive consultation with the clubs, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Championship Clubs Committee have agreed a structure running from the 2012-13 season up to and including 2015-16.
Conditional on clubs continuing to participate in the English Qualified Player scheme, the total funding provided by the Rugby Football Union will show a steady increase to reflect the growing nature of the competition.
As well as money received as a result of fielding 15 English Qualified Players in a match day 22 – the threshold rising from 14 – the RFU will increase its financial underwriting in relation to a title sponsorship while efforts continue to secure a partner.
Additional funding will be provided for the British & Irish Cup in the form of travel assistance and for the first time in the competition, a financial reward will be given upon those RFU Championship sides that reach the knock-out stages.
Following the announcement at the Championship launch, Championship Club Committee Chairman and CEO of Bedford Blues, Geoff Irvine, said:
“I am delighted to welcome in the new season and a new chapter for the competition.
With the four year funding now agreed between the Union and the clubs, I am hopeful that the competition can continue to advance both on and off the field.”
Rob Andrew, Professional Rugby Director, commented:
“The Union and the Championship Clubs have now agreed a funding structure that will support the continued development of the competition, as well as provide financial security over the following four years.
I’d like to thank Geoff and the clubs for their co-operation, and wish all those in the RFU Championship the best for the 2012-13 season.”
Speaking on behalf of the Cornish Pirates, CEO Rod Coward said:
“Cornish Pirates were one of the first clubs to state its acceptance of the RFU funding offer
. For the first time in the history of the Championship we are sure of the central funding available to us and this means we can plan our budgets with a degree of certainty that didn’t exist previously.
I would hope that when the term of this agreement ends that the Championship will have advanced and developed to such a level that the RFU will recognise the need to provide funding more in line with the requirements of a professional league, one that consistently provides players for the Premiership and the England Elite Squad.”