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Premiership Rugby

New fears for Shoguns’ future

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The multi-millionaire has made no secret of the fact that he is to quit as Chairman following five years in charge at the West Country club, having spent an estimated £6 million on ressurrecting the once bankrupt club and accepts that his departure could mean the end of the team in its current form.

"The fact of the matter is that since rugby went professional back in 1995, our gates have not been large enough to support a competitive professional side," he said in a statement issued by the Shoguns.

"Perhaps the time is coming when we should bow to the inevitable and accept the fact that the City of Bristol does not wish to support a Premiership rugby team.

"It has been some time since I made any public statement about the future of Bristol Shoguns, but I can assure people that we have been busy behind the scenes evaluating the many options.

"I repeat, that when I took the rugby club on, I said I would do what I could for five years.

"That period is up at the end of this season, and I thought it only right to give six months' notice of my decision to stand down, allowing ample time for others to come forward from the Bristol community.

"Bristol should be able to support Premiership rugby. So far, there has been interest shown from only one local consortium. We were bound by a confidentiality agreement from releasing any details of the proposal, but the truth is I am very much in the dark myself about what was being offered.

"For example, I don't know who were the members of the consortium, and whether they had the financial standing to take on the club.

"Subsequently, it has been impossible to reach agreement based on the unrealistic proposals presented by the consortium. Not only is this disappointing, but has caused consequential delays, which is irritating.

"Curiously, there has been much more interest in the club from outside the Bristol area, including, somewhat surprisingly, from North America, where top-class sport is administered by way of regional franchise agreements."

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