FIR step in after Zebre pull out of Pro12

Updated: 

The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has stepped in to take over Zebre after the club announced that they are pulling out of the Pro12.

Zebre's future has long been uncertain due to financial problems, with reports of players not being paid.

The FIR on Monday announced that the Parma-based club informed them that they will not take their place in an expanded Pro12 tournament next season.

However, the governing body revealed that is has established a new company under the name of Zebre Rugby Club to enter the competition.

Zebre Rugby later stated that the club will play under the same name and still be based in Parma next season under the ownership of the FIR.

The FIR will meet players and coaches on Monday to discuss contracts, as time is of the essence with the season due to get under way in September.

It was confirmed last week that Pro12 bosses are in "advanced and positive discussions" with the South African Rugby Union over the possibility of adding the Cheetahs and Southern Kings to the league following their removal from Super Rugby.