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Heineken Cup 'too good to lose'

18th July 2013 08:42

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Heineken Cup trophy 2011

Heineken Cup: Will it continue?

European Rugby Cup chief executive Derek McGrath is hopeful everyone will come to their senses to allow the action to continue after next season.

Cardiff were on Wednesday handed the 2013/14 finals, with the Millennium Stadium and Arms Park getting the May 23 and May 24 showpieces.

That decision has been overshadowed however by the recent decision by English and French clubs to pull out of the European competition if changes are not made to the qualification setup.

But McGrath hopes that issues can be resolved when further talks continue before September.

"The responsibility we have is to encourage everybody to focus on what it is we are trying to achieve and the needs of European rugby," he said.

"We can't really control what other things people are looking at. The deadline is here in Cardiff next May.

"We have to think of the fans and we have to think of our broadcasters anad sponsors as well, the uncertainty isn't good for professional sport if we we are not able to explain where we are going.

"It is very important that all of our stakeholders focus on that.

"I am confident, more than confident it (the Heineken Cup) will still be here (after the end of this season)."

McGrath wants all sides to understand compromise will be required to secure the future of a European competition which has rapidly become the envy of the global game.

"The reality is we want to find an agreement which will be in the interests of European club rugby, but then it has also got to work for each of the six countries, individually and collectively," he added.

"If we don't find that, we are not going to get something which is possible for each of those six countries.

"What we are looking for is move away perhaps from what we have had in recent times, which is rhetoric.

"We need to get around the table with all the stakeholders ready to engage in discussion and to recognise that everybody is going to have to give in order to find accommodation, which is the history of these discussions.

"I understand there are strong positions and there is a lot of stake for both sides - a lot to lose and a lot to win.

"When we have been through this before we have clearly had the same situations where there is a variety of positions adopted, but everybody, and it will continue to be the case, wants it to continue and to get bigger and better. There is no doubt about that."

Meanwhile, Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis added his own voice to keeping the competition alive.

"It's too good to lose," he said.

"The bottom line is - no-one is awash with dosh in rugby. No-one.

"That's why everyone must come to their senses with a solution. Everyone in the game in Europe needs this competition. First for rugby and second for finance.

"I think we will all come to our senses and make sure this competition continues."

  • Champions Cup Fixtures
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FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Castres vs Leinster14:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
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FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Saturday , October 18
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
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Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens15
2Munster14
3Sale Sharks11
4Clermont Auvergne11
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
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1Leinster14
2Harlequins14
3Wasps11
4Castres10
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
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1Toulon14
2Leicester Tigers14
3Ulster11
4Scarlets10
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
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1Glasgow Warriors15
2Toulouse14
3Montpellier11
4Bath10
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
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1Ospreys15
2Racing Metro Paris14
3Northampton10
4Treviso10