[QODLink]
Rugby Union

Future of European Club rugby uncertain

With English and French clubs refusing to compete after 2014, there is growing frustration as latest talks fail.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2012 18:33
Biggest prize in Europe: Leinster players celebrate winning 2012 Heineken Cup final over Ulster [Reuters]

The latest attempt to reform the structure of European club rugby ended in stalemate on Wednesday, with the various stakeholders unable to agree on a new format for the Heineken Cup.

Four meetings have now been held since English and French clubs gave notice in June that they would not sign up to compete after 2014 unless changes were made.

The English and French clubs favour trimming the Heineken Cup, the continent's leading club competition, to 20 teams from 24. They also want to limit the number of qualifiers from the RaboDirect Pro12 competition, a league which features teams from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Italy.

"After four meetings, it is extremely disappointing for all involved that we have not yet made sufficient progress towards a new Accord"

ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux

Jean-Pierre Lux, chairman of tournament organiser European Rugby Cup (ERC), indicated a growing sense of frustration after talks involving representatives from leagues and national rugby federations.

"After four meetings, it is extremely disappointing for all involved that we have not yet made sufficient progress towards a new Accord," said Lux in a statement.

"Everyone around the table remains committed to making European club rugby stronger and we are confident a solution will be found," he said.

The ERC board will meet on February 6 to review the situation but no date has been set for another stakeholder meeting.

British pay TV operators BSkyB and BT are caught up in the dispute. BSkyB has agreed a four-year deal with the ERC to screen European club competitions from 2014, but rival BT has a separate agreement to broadcast matches involving English clubs competing in Europe.

Adding to the commercial complications, brewer Heineken's sponsorship agreement expires at the end of the current season.

292

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.

Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.