A Zebre takeover by the FIR has been announced this morning by the Guinness Pro12 club via social media, and will take place before the start of the 2017/18 seaon.
Unexpected Zebre Takeover Imminent by FIR
Founded in 1973 as an invitational side, they were disbanded in 1997. They became a professional rugby entity when the club joined the Guinness Pro12 in 2012.
It was earlier announced via Twitter, on the official Zebre rugby account, that the club were going to be taken over by the FIR (Federazione Italiana Rugby) ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The move will see the side remain in Parma, whilst retaining their Zebre rugby club name. A new business called ”Zebre Rugby Club Company” has been setup, with the old company (Zebre Rugby Srl) being disbanded.
The FIR have started the takeover process and despite the players not having been paid for around two months, the full squad has now resumed training; as of last Thursday.
There will be meetings this coming week, to look at all staff contracts – which will have to be transferred over. There may be discussions surrounding player insurance and other fringe benefits. However, FIR Head of Media Andrea Cimbrico has stated;
”Players must have regular insurance in order to train, as they are. So no issues on that matter. Union is looking after everything”.
Looking Ahead to the 2017/18 Season
Zebre will be an Italian representative in the [soon to be formalized] Guinness Pro12/14 setup, alongside their counterparts Benetton Treviso. Both clubs are certain to appear in the new season, to honour their participation agreement with Celtic Rugby Limited.
They will be based in Parma, and so they’ll use the same ground as they have done since their inception. However the long standing issue of whether they’ll be ‘able to continue running’ as a professional side in the Guinness Pro12 will remain a concern for those involved with Zebre; and the FIR board.
Guinness Pro 12 CEO Martin Anayi and the Pro12 are yet to release a statement on the matter at time of publishing.
Keep reading LWOR for more updates on this story as it evolves.
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