Major doubt over the future of the Heineken Cup
on 10/09/2013 20:28:13
For well over a year there has been speculation about the future of the European rugby competition with English and French clubs said to be unhappy by the current format.
This evening that situation has become a little clearer as Premiership Rugby in England have released a statement regarding this position.
"The 2013/14 Aviva Premiership Rugby season kicked off this weekend with our clubs having no clear view of new European competitions from next season onwards."
The current European Rugby Cup (ERC) competitions terminate at the end of this season after notice was served by the English and French clubs in June 2012.
"Despite numerous meetings between the stakeholders over the last year, the last of which was in May, discussions have been unsuccessful and the clubs can only conclude that negotiations on any new European agreement have now ended."
The English and French clubs have proposed the formation of two new, stronger competitions of 20 teams each, based on the principles of qualification on merit from each league, the inclusion of teams from all six existing countries and the expansion into new markets. These proposals could form the basis of future competitions.
"Given the importance and urgency of the current position, and the reconfirmation that the French clubs will not participate in any competition unless it includes the English clubs, the clubs have now asked Premiership Rugby to take immediate action to put in place a competition for 2014/15 to include the French and English clubs but which will also be open to teams from other countries."
It is unclear where this move may leave the Irish provinces and would Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht be invited to play in such a new competition.
One thing is for sure though - There could not be a European competition with just Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian teams - We already have that with the Rabo Direct Pro 12.