Premiership out of Bedford Blues reach - Geoff Irvine

Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine believes the Premiership is a "closed shop" as far as his team are concerned.

The Blues came within two games of winning promotion last season, losing their .

But Irvine says a top flight berth would be out of the club's reach.

"There is no way, under the present circumstances, we could go up, our ground's miles away from the criteria," he told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"That is what was so disappointing about the loss to Worcester, we knew we couldn't go up.

"But if we had beat them, it would have been a fantastic opportunity for Championship clubs to stand up on their back legs and say to the Rugby Football Union, to Premier Rugby Limited and the rugby world in general, 'how stupid is this system we're playing under?'."

Irvine has asked for Championship clubs to receive more financial support from the Premiership, in order to increase the chances of second tier sides breaking into English rugby's elite.

And the Blues chairman insisted his club would need a lot more financial backing to sustain a Premiership side and get their Goldington Road ground up to scratch.

"It's significant, and it's a lot more than we've got. We're talking a number of millions," he said.

"In my view, next year, there's a good chance neither of the play-off finalists will be able to get promoted."

But Bedford's 2010-11 campaign, which also included a British & Irish Cup final defeat, did offer promising financial signs.

"It would be the most successful season we've had off the field in the last 10 years of Bedford Blues history," Irvine added.

"Turnover will definitely be up and we will be the closest we've ever been to that magical break even figure."