Despite earlier indications, Treviso will play in Pro 12 next season

Club will receive €4m a year from Italian federation until 2018

Leonardo Ghiraldini: one of several Italian internationals set to leave Treviso at the end of the season. Photograph: Inpho.

Leonardo Ghiraldini: one of several Italian internationals set to leave Treviso at the end of the season. Photograph: Inpho.

 

Despite their own threats to the contrary and the proposal to form a new regional franchise in their stead, none too surprisingly it transpires that Treviso will again play in the Pro 12 next season after all along with Zebre.

Representatives of a more truly regional franchise from Veneto, involving clubs from Padua, Rovigo, San Donà, Mogliano and Treviso, had met with the Italian Federation (FIR) earlier this month to explore the feasibility of forming a replacement professional entity.

This would have entailed the FIR contributing €4 million per year in return for full technical control of the team, leaving the Venetian clubs to organize all other matters such as management, marketing and so on.

However, there was insufficient time to have this up and running in time for pre-season, although the project is still being explored. Instead, Treviso have reached an agreement with the FIR in which the Italian Federation will give €4 million per year to Treviso until 2018, with franchise and federation sharing joint technical control of the squad’s management.

The two parties will meet again tomorrow to choose the coach (which will most probably be Umberto Casellato, currently Zebre’s assistant coach) and how to begin rebuilding the squad on foot of a desperately anti-climactic campaign which has seen them plummet to second last in the Pro 12 table, just two points above Zebre, as well as the departure of coach Franco Smith on December 5th.

Several leading players have either decided to move on at the end of the season or are expected to do so, amid concern over Treviso’s future with Lorenzo Cittadini heading to Wasps, Manoa Vosawai to Cardiff Blues and Leonardo Ghiraldini, Michele Rizzo, Robert Barbieri and Christian Loamanu all expected to pitch up in Leicester. Alessandro Zanni and Alberto De Marchi are reputedly in talks with Toulon and Castres, and are expected to follow.

Nonetheless, in effect, Italy will return to having three franchises next season, in the shape of Zebre and Treviso along with a revived core of Exiles.

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