FOLLOWING the collapse of the European Super League (ESL) in football, the debate surrounding ringfencing in rugby has had a firm examination.

Premier League clubs; Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal all looked set to form a new European league, which threatened to disrupt the game as we know it.

The proposal would have meant the 12 clubs, in which the English ones were all included, would essentially feature in their own European ringfenced competition throughout the season - no potential to drop out of it, they were guaranteed, every season, to be in.

All of that whilst still being involved with the Premier League?

Hardly fair is it, especially when those clubs were all going to gain eye-watering amounts of money from the ESL each season.

Last night, however, it all fell through as the English clubs pulled out due to the uproar from supporters across the country.

Whilst rugby took a back seat and watched the drama unfold, even though the amounts of money are oceans apart, some began to compare the two sports.

The Premiership is ringfenced, at the moment, just for this season in a move to allow clubs a season of stability after what has been a testing past 12 months for all clubs, but rumours suggest that could be extended to 2024 and it begs the question: how damaging would it be for rugby in England?

If you ringfence, what you are doing is creating a ceiling. You can't fall through and you can't climb up. So the winner of The Greene King IPA Championship would not be able to gain promotion and the side finishing bottom of the Premiership (currently Worcester) would not be relegated.

That surely reduces ambition to succeed, if you cannot get promoted then what would be the point of winning the league and for those clubs struggling at the bottom of the Premiership, you have the comfort of knowing you aren't going down.

Warriors' head coach Jonathan Thomas admitted it was a question that needed asking and one that certainly makes you think.

"The biggest thing we have always been, as a sport, is a sport of the people," he said.

"It's always been very inclusive; for all shapes and sizes, people form all walks of life and different societies, countries. Whatever decisions are made in rugby in the future, that has to be at the forefront because we cannot lose our identity or what the game is about.

"It's a fantastic game, even in the professional game, I still think rugby has held onto its core values, yes times have changed but I still think they remain.

"As long as we hold onto that, that's all that is important thing to me.

"But I think the ringfence in this league is different to what is happening (was happening) in football. The ringfencing in rugby is down to Covid and the need for giving clubs stability in these hard times, which is common sense."

Until we hear of any official word, this won't be a problem as next season relegation and promotion will return but if these rumours are true, this argument will only heat up and who knows, maybe the European SuperLeague was just the start of big changes to sport in England.