IRB statement on Europe saga

Date published: January 9 2014

The IRB have stated that they will not support any competition not approved by the Unions.

The IRB have firmly stated that they will not support any European competition which is not approved by the Unions of each country.

The English clubs and Welsh regions have both expressed a desire to form a new European competition governed by the clubs rather the Unions – the RFU, WRU, SRU, FFR, FIR and IRFU.

All of those Unions bar the RFU have committed to playing in a competition run by European Rugby Cup Limited next season.

The initial plans for the breakaway Rugby Champions Cup appear dead after the Top 14 clubs pledged allegiance to the ERC, but the IRB regardless have stated that they will not back any European competition that doesn't have the full support of the Unions – who they will work with to find a solution.

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.

“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,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“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.”