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SBD Global/October 4, 2013/Events and Attractions

Scottish Rugby Clubs Open To Heineken Cup Breakaway

The Celtic opposition to the bid by English and French clubs to redraw the map of European rugby may "not be as solid as many of the hard-liners in the governing classes imagine," according to Chris Hewett of the London INDEPENDENT. Scottish Rugby Union CEO Mark Dodson said that his organization was "ruling nothing in and nothing out" -- a comment that "will be taken by some to be a clear signal that north of the border there is a willingness to embrace radical changes to the current Heineken Cup format." Dodson: "I think it's been wrongly portrayed that we have been maintaining a position. It's a high-stakes game for everyone, but we are not ruling anything in or anything out at this stage. We would be crazy to do that." Dodson made his comments at the Scottish launch of this season's Heineken Cup, which the Anglo-French alliance "insists will be the last" (INDEPENDENT, 10/2). The SCOTSMAN reported the latest move in the battle for control of European rugby "came with English and French clubs insisting that negotiations with ERC were over and drawing up plans for their own 'Rugby Champions Cup.'" However, information leaked on the Internet "appears to reveal" that BT Vision’s £152M ($246M) offer is "dependent on at least four nations being involved in the new European tournament, and that the money would not be forthcoming for a purely Anglo-French event such as the one the PRL insist they are planning." BT Vision Senior Producer Grant Best said, "Our view is that, heading into 2014-15, we want to be part of that [European] competition, whatever that competition becomes. We did a deal for what we thought would involve that tournament" (SCOTSMAN, 10/3).
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