The Magners League which currently has 10 teams from Wales, Ireland and Scotland is looking to increase to 12 and in principle that two Italian teams will compete in the competition from the 2010-11 season. The plans were for a north eastern and Rome based side, but it is now looking like the Rome-based side has run into trouble.
The Italian Rugby Federation initially opted for a Rome-based side called Praetorians and a north eastern team called Aironi, playing in Viadana. But the Rome plan failed to satisfy financial requirements and Benetton Treviso could take that place instead.
Magners League director David Jordan is expecting to get Italy’s official nominations later this month. He said (quote) They are going through a very detailed local process of evaluating the teams and that leaves them with the opportunity to change them. Once the FIR has put forward the two names, accountants Deloitte will then examine their business plans on the Magners Leagues behalf to make sure they add up. (end quote)
The other Celtic nations are keen to ensure the addition of the Italian sides does not put any extra financial burden on them, even if they do not bring immediate benefits as the league size increases from 10 to 12 teams.
We will bring you further news once it is announced.