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SBD Global/September 19, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
European Rugby Stakeholders Agree To Hold More Talks About Heineken Cup
Published September 19, 2012
NEW DAWN FOR RUGBY: In London, Chris Hewett reported that England's disaffected leading rugby clubs did not expect news of "their megabucks broadcasting deal" with BT Vision to be met "with a chorus of approval" from Celtic nations, who feared it would spell the end of European rugby as they knew it. Their hunch was right. There has been "a fearful row." The Premiership's top brass believed that the commercial possibilities opened up by the agreement would "change important minds" at Tuesday's gathering of the Heineken Cup board in Dublin. The English were prepared "to go it alone, for as long as it takes." Leicester Chair Peter Tom, one of the most influential figures in English club rugby, thinks "the darkness of this hour indicates the imminent arrival of a new dawn for the northern hemisphere game." Tom said, "I'm an optimist by nature, and we all have an opportunity, almost out of the blue, to take a significant step toward financial viability. We've done this deal with the best of intentions, both for the Premiership and for a Heineken Cup competition we know can be significantly improved." He added: "There's a lot of tribalism involved: In part, it's the tribal aspect that gives rugby its special magic, but we can't allow it to get in the way of cool-headed, sensible commercial decision-making" (INDEPENDENT, 9/18). In Manchester, Steve Diamond opined that the issue has led to all sorts of lurid headlines with the Rugby Football Union claiming that "Premier Rugby had no mandate to make the agreement." He added, "Well, for what it’s worth, my view on the TV deal is simple. I believe that anything which brings more money to the English clubs has got to be good. And if the RFU disagree with it then give us more money" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 9/18).