ERC “dismayed” over Anglo-French threats.

Heineken CupAs exclusively revealed by Peter Jackson in The Rugby Paper on May 6th, English and French clubs have given an ultimatum to the ERC to review the current Heineken Cup format or they would quit the European competition and create their own.
Today, the ERC have responded and pointed out that English and French clubs had agreed to the system back in 2007.
ERC spokesman Mark Jones said: “We are dismayed and frustrated at the position that has been taken by Premier Rugby.
“This is a process that is laid down as part of the accord agreed in 2007. It’s not a bolt out of the blue.
“The current qualification process was agreed by ERC’s shareholders as part of the 2007 accord.
“We welcome a full review of the tournament and we believe that at the end of the consultation process, European rugby will emerge stronger.
“Our meeting on September 18 in Dublin is the second step in the process.”
Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty told us in May that teams from the RaboDirectPro12 are given a significant advantage in the Heineken Cup due to the method of qualification (11 out of 12 clubs qualified for this year’s competition) and the that the fact they had to wait over four months to have the meeting was a “disgrace”.
Over the past seven seasons, Leinster and Munster have lifted five Heineken cup trophies between them
Only Wasps in 2007 and Toulouse in 2010 have managed to put their hands on the trophy since 2006.
McCafferty said: “ERC should know that we are serious. If it’s not resolved, we would go to an Anglo-French competition.
“Most of the Ireland squad will not be released for the Pro 12 until rounds three or four, something they could not do if they depended on their finishing position in the league for European qualification.
“Aironi were disbanded at the end of the last season and the newly formed Zebres go straight into the Heineken Cup.
“Are the Italian teams ready for the Heineken Cup given their record?

2 Comments

  1. Normally I take PRLs views with a pinch of salt but they and the French have a strong case here, not just for the reasons above but because of the crowds at English & French ties compared to Italy , Scotland and often Wales.
    It’s a bit rich to argue that because there was an agreement made 5 years ago, it remains valid today. The Italians weren’t even in the Celtic league then IIRC.

  2. Indeed the Italians weren’t in the Celtic League back then. But that begs the question, how will the proposed solution work when the other unions can leave the Pro12 if they so choose? If the Italians were to leave the Pro12 then how would ERC qualification change?
    The proposed solution makes an assumption that the Pro12 is just like the AP or the Top14, but that’s not the case.
    In fact, both PRL and the Top14 clubs are shareholders in the ERC, but the Pro12 is not. It hardly seems fair that the qualification be changed to use standings in a league that has no say in the ERC.

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