IRB insist on European unity
IRB insist on European unitySHARE
The International Rugby Board (IRB) have announced that they will not support a European competition that is not approved by all the national unions concerned.
The IRB in a statement on Wednesday said they are concerned about the ongoing dispute regarding the future of European club competitions.
English and Welsh clubs have voiced their desire to form a new competition governed by the clubs rather than the RFU, WRU, SRU, FFR, FIR and IRFU.
Plans for a breakaway competition called the Rugby Champions Cup between English and French clubs were scrapped when the Top 14 clubs backtracked and voted to side with the FFR and remain part of the European Cup.
All the unions have committed to a competition run by European Rugby Cup Limited next season bar the RFU, leaving no solution in sight.
The statement read: “The International Rugby Board strongly believes that the establishment of a truly representative pan-European rugby competition that fully complies with IRB regulations and bye-laws is in the best interests of the global game.
“The IRB acknowledges and supports the commitment of the Six Nations member unions in their ongoing attempts to reach an accord for a genuine European competition that has Europe’s top players and fans at heart.
“However, despite progress on key terms for the future of European competition, the apparent lack of a common solution across the Six Nations unions and their respective clubs, regions and provinces is of concern to the IRB.
“IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "In order to reach an outcome that is in the best interests of rugby globally, the IRB will work actively with its unions towards the goal of achieving a unified and acceptable outcome for all stakeholders involved.
"In the interests of the global game, the IRB reaffirms that it will not support any cross border competitions that are not approved by the unions of any participating clubs, rugby bodies and host countries in full accordance with IRB regulations and bye-laws."
Bill Beaumont, RFU Chairman said they will continue to urgently work with all parties, with the clear aim of ensuring that a competitive European tournament continues beyond this season, to grow the game both domestically and across Europe.
"The RFU has been consistent in its view that our primary focus should be to maintain a genuinely pan European tournament so rugby can continue to thrive. For this to be achieved, all parties need to work collaboratively, so that everyone benefits, not least the players and supporters, who have done so much to make European rugby so memorable," said Beaumont.
The Chairman of the Six Nations added, "Rest assured I am working closely with RFU CEO Ian Ritchie, and other stakeholders, to find a solution. I welcome the support of the IRB in helping to ensure that this happens and of course as a member union abide by and support the IRB regulations."