With the start of the new Championship season only nine weeks away the 12 clubs in the league are at loggerheads with the RFU over a claim that the governing body has failed to deliver funding of over £2.3 million, writes Dick Straughan.
The clubs claim they are each owed £77,000 for the three seasons of the competition to date and that a further four-year funding offer from the RFU leaves them a further £120,000 down on the original agreement.
It is understood that legal advice sought by the clubs over the issue has indicated that there is a breach of contract. They initially believed that they would each receive £295,000 per season in 2009-10, rising to £400,000 in 2015-16.
The RFU have countered this claim, stating that the original funding agreement was based on estimated figures and standby their offer of £359,400 for each Championship club by the 2015-16 season.
While there has been no comment on the issue from the Cornish Pirates, Geoff Irvine, chairman of the Championship clubs, said: "The RFU has not kept to the promises it made and if we want to see standards improve then we need to have a commitment which is honoured.
"What is of particular concern to the clubs, though, is that the RFU refuses to fulfill its responsibilities to the Championship when it "owns" the competition."