French clubs refuse to negotiate

Date published: September 24 2013

LNR president Paul Goze is adamant that the French clubs will not return to negotiations to find a resolution to the European debacle.

Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) president Paul Goze is adamant that the French clubs will not return to the negotiating table to find a resolution to the row over the future of European club rugby.

Despite the FFR's insistence that it will not support the new 'Rugby Champions Cup' competition set up by Premiership Rugby and the LNR – effectively blocking the participation of French clubs – Goze has reiterated his organisation's stance: they are no longer willing to work with the ERC.

Following the advice of the IRB, the ERC has appointed a mediator for proposed negotiations on October 23, but the LNR will only consider talks around the format of their new competition, not a modification of the current Heineken Cup.

“I totally exclude returning to negotiations, they have failed for fifteen months, they will not come to a resolution in a fortnight,” Goze told AFP.

“There are contracts that have been signed by various parties that mean there are no opportunities (for reconciliation).

“Creating a new competition will help us out of the trap which we have been in for several months. It is not just a desire to carry out a coup,” assured Goze, in reference to the conflict between television rights deals signed by Premiership Rugby with BT and one signed by the ERC with Sky .

The LNR boss believes that the intervention of the Canadian mediator selected by the ERC, Graeme Mew, will not change the situation.

“The mediator can't change the fact that contracts are signed,” said the former Perpignan president.

“He may be able to mediate on the organisation of the competition, but with regards to the fundamental problem of this competition, we have passed the stage of negotiation. We have reached a dead end and we must find a way out. If we do not take the initiative, he will not. ”

Goze has also refused to point a finger at Premiership Rugby for causing the impasse by signing the BT deal.

“Everyone is passing the buck. It's a chicken and the egg situation….” he said.

“The problem is that we are in this situation and the only way to get out is to create this competition (Champions Cup Rugby).”