Next seasons Heineken Cup will go ahead but there will be no English clubs participating.
In a surprise move the French teams have agreed to play in years competition and have left England out in the cold. This is a huge blow for English teams who had thought they were set to be the fore runners in setting up a new competition that would have included France.
Representatives from the French, Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian unions held a meeting in Dublin this evening to discuss plans to forge ahead with revised versions of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup next season without English clubs.
A meeting was held in Dublin today (21 Nov) attended by FFR, FIR, IRFU, SRU and WRU to discuss the on-going issues surrounding European club competitions.
All five Unions believe that it is critical to the interests of the game in Europe that the Unions are at the heart of the governance of cross-border club competitions given that rugby in each country is organised in a pyramidical structure. Clubs, provinces and regional organisations form an integral part of the development of the game throughout this structure, from grassroots to the international game. Cross-border club competitions must not conflict with the development of the sport in Europe by Unions, this being in the best interest of players, spectators and the sport in general.
The five Unions reconfirmed:
- their agreement with the new competition formats and financial distribution formula previously agreed by the six Unions who attended the mediated meeting in Dublin on 23-24 October (http://www.ercrugby.com/news/
Following today’s discussions, the five Unions have agreed the following:
- A European club competition is to take place during the 2014/2015 season following an optimized sporting and economic format with 20 teams, no matter how many countries are involved.
- The competition will be driven by the existing organisation (currently named ERC) which will remain in charge of the centralised sale and management of all commercial rights, amongst other things.
- Discussions over governance will be pursued in order to optimise the internal functioning of the existing organization (currently named ERC).
- The common aim is to move eventually towards the integration of European competitions within all-encompassing European rugby framework.
So the English clubs have reduced their chances of winning the Heineken Cup next year. Only more marginally than usual though. #HeinekenCup
— Ken Stanley (@Ken_Stanley) November 21, 2013
More to follow