LNR boss Paul Goze admits threatening to join the Rugby Champions Cup forced the ERC to met their demands.
Ligue Nationale de Rugby boss Paul Goze admits threatening to join the Rugby Champions Cup forced the ERC to met their demands.
The Top 14 clubs completed a dramatic U-turn on Thursday by voting to remain in the Heineken Cup for next season.
The French clubs had previously stated that they would join the breakaway competition created by Premiership Rugby, the organisers of the English league, and also joined by the Welsh regions called the Rugby Champions Cup.
But now the future of that competition appears in tatters following the vote by the Top 14 chiefs at a meeting outside Paris yesterday.
Goze stated that the French clubs would play in the ERC competitions next year, but only if the English clubs also came back and were involved.
“The RCC was a way to get the progress we wanted,” Goze told Midi Olympique, referring to the restructured qualification format and reorganised financial distribution between the participating countries.
“If the English cannot participate in next year's competition, then a new meeting will be organised. Then we will pose the question as to whether the French clubs will also take part. I can't say whether the English clubs will be able to leave their contract with BT Sport.”
Goze outlined that despite committing to the ERC, next season would give the French clubs enough time to organise a new structure for 2015/2016.
“This year of transition will give us enough time to create a new structure,” added Goze.
“From now until July 1st 2014, we will try and find a way to include everybody in the new competition next year. We want to move to a new structure which would be more like an association of federations, similar to the one used in football. It's not possible to do that in six months.
“This new structure will be out of the ordinary for rugby. It will change attitudes, so it's very important. The most difficult aspect is getting everyone behind the idea of an association of federations. Therefore we need to get a commission up and running as soon as possible to start planning for 2015-2016.
“If there is one problem, it's the contract signed by the English clubs. We reserve the right to withdraw from the competition next season should they not be able to join.”