ERC still holding out hope
Wed, 11 Sep 2013 15:16
A meeting focused solely on the negotiations will be convened 'as soon as practicable'
Despite talk of a Anglo-French split from the ERC, the European rugby governing body is still holding out hope that a resolution can be reached.
Amidst speculation that French and English clubs will be setting up a tournament of their own to rival the European Cup, the ERC called a board meeting in Dublin at which all parties reaffirmed their commitment to continue negotiations with reference to the shape the tournament will take after the current agreement runs out at the end of the season.
Clubs from both the Premiership and France's Top 14 are unhappy with the existing set-up which sees nearly all leading sides from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy guaranteed European Cup places on grounds of nationality rather than on their positions in the domestic Pro12 competition.
As a result it was decided at the ERC meeting in Dublin that a meeting focused solely on the negotiations will be convened 'as soon as practicable'.
It was agreed that ERC would facilitate the discussions and that the current points of difference, including the share of central revenues, qualification and season dates, would all be on the table.
The board reiterated that European club competitions must be organised by ERC and that any purported cross-border club tournaments needed the approval both of the IRB, and of the relevant Unions who are shareholders of ERC.
Surprise was expressed at the timing and content of Tuesday's media announcements by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) and Premiership Rugby, and representatives of both bodies were invited to explain their positions.
It was pointed out that there was a range of proposals made by stakeholders, none of which were acceptable to all parties, and it was agreed that the negotiations towards a definitive solution needed to begin again in earnest.
Attendees at the ERC Board meeting:
Jean-Pierre Lux (ERC Chairman)
René Bouscatel (Ligue Nationale de Rugby)
Olivier Keraudren (Federation Française de Rugby)
Philip Browne (Irish Rugby Football Union)
Peter Boyle (Irish Rugby Football Union)
Peter Wheeler (Premiership Rugby)
Roy Headey (Rugby Football Union)
Ian McLauchlan (Scottish Rugby)
Dominic McKay (Scottish Rugby)
Roger Lewis (Welsh Rugby Union)
Stuart Gallacher (Regional Rugby Wales)
Fabrizio Gaetaniello (Federazione Italiana Rugby)
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