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The Way Forward

The English professional game currently operates under the framework established by the Long Form Agreement entered into in July 2001. This agreement can be terminated at the end of the 2008/09 season. The RFU believes the current structure and organisation of the professional game is not working as well as it should in terms of delivering a winning England team; ensuring a commercially and financially successful professional game; or protecting the welfare of rugby players.

Against this background, in 2006, the RFU initiated The Way Forward project to review the current structure of elite rugby in England. The Way Forward is intended to be an informed and open process to establish the best way forward for the professional game with the objective of finding a lasting solution to the current issues. In particular, the RFU believes any solution must:

  • Take into account the interests of both club and country 
  • Be right for professional players and for the wider game 
  • Restore elite rugby in England as a leader of the world game

The Way Forward Project comprises of:

  • Research into the current state of the game of rugby in England (the Fact Base document listed below)
  • Identification of key issues (the Discussion document listed below)
  • A document reviewing issues and examining mechanisms for addressing these (the Consultation document listed below)
  • A public consultation process running from 1st May 2007 to 15th June 2007 to obtain feedback from the general community on the project and suggested solutions
  • Decision making process and implementation of recommendations

Next Steps

The public consultation for The Way Forward has now closed and the RFU is grateful for all submissions and feedback received through our roadshows throughout the country, via our public consultation website and by post to the Chief Executive.

The results of the consultation will be reported to the RFU Management Board and RFU Council at their meetings in June and July.


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