French clubs make Euro U-turn
French clubs make Euro U-turnSHARE
Top 14 clubs, in a dramatic twist in the European saga, on Thursday dissociated themselves from the Rugby Champions Cup and decided to remain part of the European Cup.
French and England clubs in September announced their plans to breakaway from the European Cup and form the Rugby Champions Cup next year if the European Rugby Cup failed to find a solution to their concerns over the current European Cup format.
However, French clubs – represented by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby – convened a meeting near Orly on Thursday where it was voted to side with the Federation Francaise de Rugby.
Racing Metro owner Jacky Lorenzetti was reportedly furious with the outcome and stormed out of the meeting.
The decision leaves English clubs in the wilderness as they, having engaged with the broadcaster British Telecom, are contractually unable to break this contract to return to the European Cup, which is linked with rival Sky Sports.
Thursday’s development will see clubs from France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete in an overhauled European Cup in 2014/2015 with English clubs looking set to be excluded from Europe as they were during the 1998/1999 season, when they boycotted the competition, a decision which prevented Bath from defending the European title.