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[04 OCT 99] COVENTRY RFC NEWS
Coventry Swoop For Bedford

Coventry Rugby Club logoCoventry 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 club’s 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 Coventry’s 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 club’s debts.

Fairbrother said:

"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 clubs.

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 Coventry’s current home capacity at the Coundon Road ground by another 1,500-2,000 seats.
   

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CWN / Sport / Rugby / Coventry RFC / 4 Oct 99

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