Planet Rugby

RFU surprised by European exclusion

22nd November 2013 07:39

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general view of the RFU offices

RFU: Out in the cold

The Rugby Football Union have voiced their "surprise and disappointment" at being excluded from Thursday's meeting of their European counterparts.

The Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French and Italian unions issued a joint statement following talks in Dublin - where RFU were reportedly not invited - confirming that they stand "side by side" in driving a 20-team format overseen by ERC.

Crucially, there was no indication in the statement from the five unions which clubs would participate in a union-run competition but insisted that it would go ahead "with 20 teams, no matter how many countries are involved".

The RFU's absent from the meeting was a result of the refusal of the English clubs', who are represented by Premiership Rugby, insistence on breaking away from the ERC and starting a new competition, Rugby Champions Cup.

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie was present at the negotiations in October that were attended by all six unions and ended with broad agreement on certain principles. There now however seems to be a rift between the Unions and reports suggest that French clubs are wavering in their support of the new tournament amid pressure and financial incentives from their union.

"We are extremely surprised and disappointed not to be involved," an RFU statement read.

"It is right that the outcomes of the mediated meeting held in Dublin on October 24, which resulted in an agreement for a meritocratic tournament and equitable distribution of revenues, have been reaffirmed.

"It has been clear for some time that governance is a central outstanding issue.

"We remain committed to help facilitate a solution so that a truly pan European competition can continue to thrive for the benefit of players and spectators alike."

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty is adamant the Rugby Champions Cup continues to be backed by the French clubs and Welsh Regions.

"We don't see any evidence of their support wavering. We were working with them on Wednesday on the implementation of the Champions Cup," said McCafferty.

"They certainly say that they've never received a financial offer from the French union and we've taken that on trust.

"They've made it very clear over the last 18 months they won't be involved in any competitions in which the English clubs are not playing

"I'm also confident that the Welsh regions remain in support of the Rugby Champions Cup."

  • Champions Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
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
  • Champions Cup Results
Recent Results
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
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
  • Champions Cup Table
Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens15
2Munster14
3Sale Sharks11
4Clermont Auvergne11
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Leinster14
2Harlequins14
3Wasps11
4Castres10
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon14
2Leicester Tigers14
3Ulster11
4Scarlets10
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Glasgow Warriors15
2Toulouse14
3Montpellier11
4Bath10
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ospreys15
2Racing Metro Paris14
3Northampton10
4Treviso10