English Premiership clubs have handed in notice of their intention to leave European rugby.
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The governing body of the top rugby union clubs in England has handed in notice of its intention to withdraw from both the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Cup. English clubs are said to be in disagreement over how the competitions are organised
Although French clubs have previously threatened to leave European competition, two year’s notice is required and their move was largely seen as an attempt to force others to negotiate. Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said, “We hope that there will now be an urgent dialogue”.
McCafferty was hopeful that discussions could recommence soon regarding, “the future of European cup rugby, including qualification, competition formats and ambition to expand into new markets”.
Irish provinces have won five of the last seven Heineken Cup’s including this years all Irish final in Twickenham where Leinster beat Ulster 42-12 to retain their trophy. It was the club’s third victory in four years in the competition.
Premiership Rugby’s intention to exit the competition will affect top English sides such as Northampton, Saracens, Gloucester, Bath, Harlequins, Leicester and London Irish, all of whom competed in the 2011-12 tournament.
The notice period will expire at the culmination of the 2013-14 tournament at which point all English clubs will exit the competitions.