Coventry rugby club has
taken over Bedford to leapfrog into the Allied Dunbar Premiership One division.
The Midlands club, currently lying fifth in the second division, swooped over the
weekend. They saved Bedford from going under by taking over their wage bills.
They have now have taken over the contracts of the Bedford players and have bought the
East Midlands clubs licence to play in the Premiership.
The English Rugby Partnership - which controls the Premiership - and the Rugby Union,
have yet to approve the deal, but Coventrys chairman Keith Fairbrother said he
anticipated no problems because there were precedents for such a move.
The new operation will run two teams Coventry Blues in Premiership One and
Coventry in Premiership Two until the end of this season.
Coventry will not be responsible for any of the Bedford clubs debts.
"Opportunities present themselves from time to time and when they do you have to
seize them. Bedford were unable to pay players and staff last Thursday and the players
were on the verge of going on strike.
"We paid their wages so that the match against Saracens would be played. The club
was going under and we effectively saved it."
The Coventry chairman said the two teams would be run entirely separately although they
would be assessing the playing squads to determine whether to transfer players between the
The home matches for both teams will be played at Coventry who are moving into a new
10,000 seater stadium in the city centre within two years.
The first Premiership One match in Coventry will be against Wasps on 16 October. Moves
are under way to increase Coventrys current home capacity at the Coundon Road ground
by another 1,500-2,000 seats.