Who is really in charge in Europe?

Mon, 28 Oct 2013 08:40
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The question of who runs European club rugby remains the major sticking point, after both sides in the 'breakaway' row moved closer on a raft of other issues.

The question of who runs European club rugby remains the major sticking point, after both sides in the 'breakaway' row moved closer on a raft of other issues.

The future of both the European Cup and the second-tier European Challenge Cup was thrown into doubt last month when leading English and French clubs announced plans for a breakaway Rugby Champions Cup (RCC) free from the control of existing organisers, European Rugby Cup (ERC) - a body dominated by the continent's leading national unions rather than the clubs.

But, following last week's meeting of national union representatives and ERC chiefs in Dublin, Premiership Rugby (PRL), the umbrella group for England's leading clubs, and the Ligue National de Rugby, their French equivalent, said there was now agreement on several major points.

"Premiership Rugby and Ligue Nationale de Rugby [LNR] are pleased to note that all parties have reached agreement on the European club competition formats and the principles of financial distribution," a Premiership statement said.

"These are on the basis of the platform proposed by the English and French clubs and which correspond with the principles which guided the formation of the Rugby Champions Cup."

The statement added the RCC would be under the "overall regulatory responsibility" of the unions of the Six Nations (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy), who would deal with disciplinary procedures, appointment of match officials, and compliance with International Rugby Board regulations.

Currently, the Six Nations performs a similar role regarding end of year international fixtures in Europe.

However, the statement stressed the RCC would be run by its three constituent leagues (English, French and Celtic), not ERC, who would be responsible for management and promotion of the competitions, commercial rights' sales and financial distributions.

"This solution meets the respective needs of the parties and is an integral part of the overall proposals, alongside competition qualification and format and share of financial distributions," the statement said.

"The new Rugby Champions Cup organisation will look to finalise an agreement which respects the balance between all parties in European rugby."

English and French clubs have long complained that Celtic League teams have an unfair advantage in European competition as most of them are guaranteed entry, whereas Premiership and Top 14 teams have to fight hard just to qualify.

But the Dublin meeting backed Anglo-French calls for "meritocratic" qualification.

The dispute has also been complicated by a row over broadcast rights.

Premiership Rugby have signed a television deal with BT Vision worth £152million (€178 million, US$246 million), with £52million of that earmarked for European competitions.

But ERC insist they will stand by current broadcast partners Sky, with a contract agreed until 2018.

The Anglo-French breakaway plan received support Tuesday from Wales's four regional teams - Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Scarlets - which further undermined ERC's position.

But that scheme suffered a setback when Mourad Boudjellal, the owner of French side Toulon, the reigning European champions, said his club would not compete in any breakaway event.


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Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 6 4 0 2 20
Wasps 6 3 0 3 17
Ulster 6 4 0 2 17
Harlequins 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 22
Saracens 6 3 1 2 18
Ospreys 6 2 1 3 15
Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 6
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 6 0 0 27
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 15
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 13
Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 4 1 1 21
Racing Metro 6 4 0 2 19
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 4 0 2 21
Toulon 6 4 0 2 19
Bath 6 4 0 2 18
Treviso 6 0 0 5 4