ERC board to meet in Dublin

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 18:08
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The ERC board will meet in Dublin on Wednesday after French and English clubs threatened to break away from the European Cup.

The European Club Rugby (ERC) board will meet in Dublin on Wednesday after French and English clubs threatened to break away from the European Cup.

Talks over a new deal to safeguard the future of the European Cup have so far failed to reach agreement on the structure of the tournament and commercial arrangements for it.

English and French clubs want to reduce not only the number of participating teams, but specifically the number of Celtic League teams guaranteed automatic entry.

They complain that Celtic League teams have an unfair advantage as they can rest players before European Cup matches, knowing full well they are not risking their participation in the following season.

This season, only one Celtic League team, Wales's Newport Gwent Dragons, failed to qualify for the European Cup. It means the continent's top club competition is made up of 11 Celtic League teams, seven from France and six from England.

The English and French want to establish a more even distribution of places across the three leagues.

Adding further fuel to the dispute is a row over television rights to ERC's leading competition.

ERC have a deal in place with Sky Sports while Premiership Rugby sold the rights for those games played by their clubs from next season to BT Vision, a new channel launched recently in the United Kingdom.

ERC considers the new deal to be "illegal", insisting that only they can negotiate broadcast rights for the competition.

Furthermore, they recently extended their contract with Sky Sports until 2018.

As a result of the ongoing row, all parties involved in the ongoing consultation process aimed at formulating a new Accord which will provide for the structure and format of European club tournaments for the 2014/15 season and beyond will meet on Wednesday.

“While there is a shared sense of frustration among ERC's stakeholders at the lack of progress towards a new Accord, the meeting will provide an opportunity for the parties to review the consultation process to date,” a ERC statement read.

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