New twists in Euro merry-go-round

Fri, 29 Nov 2013 10:30
Large paul goze 630

French Top 14 clubs confirmed their intention to stay loyal to next season's European Cup with the proviso that English clubs also competed in the competition

French Top 14 clubs confirmed their intention to stay loyal to next season's European Cup with the proviso that English clubs also competed in the European Rugby Cup-run competition.

The future of the flagship European tournament had been thrown into doubt when English and French sides drew up plans to launch a rival Rugby Champions Cup from the 2014/2015 season.

But last week the national unions of France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales said they would be stick with the European Cup in its existing format -- leaving the English Premiership out on a limb.

Thursday's latest twist came after talks between Top 14 club presidents at a hotel at Orly Airport near Paris.

The French National Rugby League (LNR), in a statement after the 'Orly summit', made plain they were still in favour of the breakaway Rugby Champions Cup, but only from the 2015-16 season.

"Given the amount of work that has to be done to set up the new format from the 2015-16 season the notion of a period of transition of one year...is a valid one," the LNR explained.

The French federation said the new format would group together the best teams from the six competing countries with the new financial structure which is at the heart of the rift.

LNR president Paul Goze added: "French clubs can get involved in competitions run by the ERC (in 2014-15) on condition that all the deals are signed and that the competition will be staged with clubs from England."

He said the format that would be set up from 2015-16 was based on "an association of federations similar to the one that exists in football" (with reference to European football's governing body UEFA).

England's Premiership Rugby (PRL), which represents the country's 12 leading clubs, had been vehement in its opposition to having anything more to do with ERC-run tournaments.

But a breakaway competition without French clubs is all but inconceivable and, with the prospect of no English teams playing in Europe for the first time since the 1998/99 season now on the horizon, PRL chief executive Mark McCafferty softened his stance in response to Thursday's developments.

"If somebody can outline what that transition would entail, how the issues would be overcome and exactly what the new structure in 2015-16 would be, then we could look at it," McCafferty told Britain's Press Association.

"If we can see there is a new structure to replace ERC and we have the detail of that, then something might be feasible. At the moment it's all very general and difficult to comment on."

The European rugby landscape was shaken to its core two months ago with the joint French and English announcement of the creation of their proposed breakaway competition.

Welsh regions subsequently joined forces with their English and French counterparts, claiming they wished to be a part of the rival circuit.

But the ground shifted considerably last week when the unions of France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales said they would remain faithful to the ERC's European Cup for next season.

Part of the desire to shake up the existing competition stems from the complaint by English and French clubs 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.

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 201

AFP

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Fri, 24 February 2017
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10