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Italian Rugby Federation take control of Zebre after attempted Pro12 withdrawal

The club announced Zebre would retain its name and play next season in Parma.

Zebre in action against Treviso.
Zebre in action against Treviso.
Image: Luca Marenda

ZEBRE HAVE ANNOUNCED they will compete in the 2017/18 Pro12 but under the ownership of the Italian Rugby Federation.

In a statement released on Monday, the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) said they had been contacted by Zebre informing them of their decision to withdraw from the competition ahead of next season.

However the club later confirmed it would take its place in a newly formatted Pro14, but under a new ownership and a new management next season.

A new company plans to be put in place of Zebre Rugby Club Company pending the approval of Federal Council.

The statement said the Federation would “ensure the participation of two Italian teams in the competition” and was determined to appoint a new director at Zebre ahead of next season.

The statement read: “FIR leaders will meet on Monday 24 July in Parma – together with the new directors – members of staff and players of the franchise to start the operating processes of ‘Zebre Rugby Club’.”

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The club’s future in the Pro12 has been uncertain for a number of months, with owner Stefano Pagliarini stating in January that it would require €1 million in order to see the 2016/17 season out.

Zebre was formed ahead of the 2012/13 season and has yet to win a Champions Cup game since its inception five years ago.

The announcement comes less than a week after Celtic Rugby confirmed they were in talks to add two South African franchises to the Pro12 ahead of next season.

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