Planet Rugby

European rebels reply to Unions

25th October 2013 08:33

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Mark McCafferty chief executive of Premiership Rugby talks

Cautious: Mark McCafferty

Premiership Rugby have issued a lukewarm welcome to Thursday's statement from European Unions on the future of European club rugby.

A two-day meeting in Dublin between the six European Rugby Unions, which was boycotted by Premiership Rugby and the LNR, ended with the national governing bodies arriving at two key agreements and making a number of concessions to the demands of the English and French clubs that have announced the formation of the new Rugby Champions Cup .

Where the problem now lies is regarding governance, with the leagues wanting full control of any new European competition rather than it being run by the Unions.

In a release later on Thursday, Premiership Rugby noted from statement on behalf of independent mediators Graeme Mew and Stephen Drymer that progress has been made on some key issues "although there remain some significant ones which have not yet been addressed."

"Over the last few weeks of discussions, the French and English clubs have reiterated previous commitments concerning the Rugby Champions Cup and provided a number of new solutions for issues raised by the Unions in order to clear the way for other teams to participate, including:

• The new Rugby Champions Cup is proposed to be under the overall regulatory responsibility of the Six Nations for compliance with IRB regulations, the provision of disciplinary services and the appointment of match officials.

• The three Leagues will organise and manage the new Rugby Champions Cup competitions and maximise all the commercial rights.

• In the 20-team top competition, there would be 7 places guaranteed for the RaboDirect Pro12 league.

• Within the 7 automatic places, there must be at least one team from each country.

• The French and English leagues will provide a minimum financial guarantee for the teams from the RaboDirect Pro12."

Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty took a cautious approach to the Unions' statement.

"I think we are still some way from a resolution," McCafferty told the Guardian.

"I was surprised that the unions issued a statement before considering the other, bigger issues that need to be addressed. The Rugby Champions Cup is a club tournament that will be run by clubs and it will be done so in a far different, leaner and more cost-effective way than ERC.

"ERC is costly to run for a nine-weekend competition," said McCafferty. "The LNR takes up more than half the year and the Premiership 26 weeks: both leagues are run by clubs under the regulatory guidance of their respective unions.

"It will be the same with the Rugby Champions Cup, where the board will be concerned with commercial issues and tournament organisation working in partnership with the unions who will be responsible for areas like referees, discipline and anti-doping."

  • Champions Cup Fixtures
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
Saturday , December 6
Sale vs Saracens13:00
Munster vs Clermont Auvergne15:15
Harlequins vs LeinsterTBC
Leicester vs ToulonTBC
Ulster vs ScarletsTBC
Montpellier vs BathTBC
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Saturday , October 25
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
Sunday , October 19
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
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Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
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1Munster28
2Saracens25
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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1Toulon28
2Scarlets24
3Leicester Tigers24
4Ulster21
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
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1Glasgow Warriors29
2Toulouse28
3Montpellier22
4Bath21
Pool 5
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1Northampton25
2Ospreys25
3Racing Metro Paris14
4Treviso10