The prospect of Italian representation in next season's Magners League is alive again following a revised offer last week by the clubs involved, Treviso and Viadana.
Each club is now prepared to shell out €1.5m -- €1m from their own funds and €1 underwritten by the Italian Federation -- which would be split between the existing 10 clubs to offset travelling and contract costs for new players needed for the extra four games in the schedule.
Talks are ongoing this weekend but there was a positive reaction to the clubs' move by the board of Celtic rugby who met last Tuesday. It is understood that progress has been made also on the tv money which the Italians are required to bring to the table. Originally they were asked to come up with €1.2m to add to the pot where next season Setanta will be replaced by TG4.
Of the three nations making the decision, the Scots are least enthusiastic about accommodating the Italian clubs but they are under pressure from Ireland and Wales to open the door after the revised offer was tabled.