Euro split: Premiership stands firm

Wed, 18 Sep 2013 19:05
Large bruce craig Large quentin smith gestures Large brett gosper

Premiership Rugby is standing their ground in their desire to split from European Rugby Cup and start a new competition.

Premiership Rugby is standing their ground in their desire to split from European Rugby Cup and start a new competition.

This follows a meeting by Premiership Rugby's shareholders on Wednesday, where they again made it clear they are not seeing a way forward in the current ERC set-up.

In a strongly worded statement after the meeting Premiership said they are to take "immediate action" to put in place a competition for the 2014/15 season onwards - to include the French and English clubs.

The public spat and stand-off, which has now reached near farcical proportions, has had numerous contradictory declarations the last few days.

International Rugby Board Chief Executive Brett Gosper Wednesday joined the fray when he said he wanted the European Cup to remain a tournament for the continent's leading clubs amid the growing fears of an Anglo-French breakaway.

The tournament, as well as the second-string European Challenge Cup, faces an uncertain future now English and French clubs have given their notice to quit the existing competition structures at the end of the 2013/14 season.

The stand-off and squabbling centres on revenue distribution, qualification procedures and broadcast rights.

At Wednesday's meeting of Premiership Rugby's shareholders, Quentin Smith and Bruce Craig were unanimously re-elected as Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively for a further period of two years.

And they also re-iterated their position on the split.

"On September 10, Premiership Rugby issued a statement confirming that the English and French clubs were instigating new competitions after the conclusion of unsuccessful ERC negotiations," the statement said.

"The clubs see no purpose in new discussions starting as late as the end of October 2013, as proposed earlier this week," it said in reference to a request by European Cup organisers on Tuesday yo invite all interested parties to an October 23 meeting in Dublin in a bid to resolve the ongoing row over the format of the continent's showcase competition.

However, Premiership's statement made it clear they are not interested in attending the Dublin gathering.

"The proposals from the French and English clubs for two new, strong competitions of 20 teams in each were tabled more than a year ago," Premiership said.

"The Clubs reaffirmed their instruction to Premiership Rugby to take immediate action to put in place a competition for the 2014/15 season onwards to include the French and English clubs, and for this competition to be open to teams from other countries.

"It was confirmed that this should be progressed with urgency."

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