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Italian federation agrees to provide two teams to Pro12 for four more years

Despite Treviso’s insistence that they would leave the competition, a verbal deal has been done.

Benetton Treviso had previously insisted that they would be leaving the Pro12.
Benetton Treviso had previously insisted that they would be leaving the Pro12.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ITALIAN TEAMS ARE set to remain involved in the Pro12 for the next four years, officials have announced.

There had been reports that amid the uncertainty over the future of the European Cup and with leading Welsh clubs contemplating an alliance with their English Premiership counterparts, the Italians planned to have their leading clubs participate in a domestic-only national championship.

But the Pro12, which acts as a ‘domestic’ tournament for the Scottish, Irish, Wales and Italian clubs has announced that the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) will become an equal partner in Celtic Rugby from July the 1st of this year and that two Italian teams will take part for the next four years.

However, an agreement ratifying this proposal has still to be signed by all four national unions involved.

A statement issued by Celtic Rugby on Thursday said: “A constructive meeting took place on Tuesday in London between FIR and the Celtic Rugby Unions (Scottish Rugby Union, Irish Rugby Football Union, Welsh Rugby Union).

The meeting was successful and an agreement was reached for FIR to join Celtic Rugby as an equal partner from July 1st, 2014.

“The terms of participation of two Italian teams were agreed upon. Under the new agreement, FIR will ensure the participation of two Italian teams for the next four years in the competition which is currently known as the RaboDirect PRO12.

“The agreement between FIR, SRU, WRU and IRFU will be officially signed in due course.”

Last weekend Italian minnows Zebre completed a shock season-double over Cardiff Blues, with their 15-10 victory prompting the resignation of Cardiff director of rugby Phil Davies.

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