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SBD Global/April 14, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
European Rugby Strikes Deal Establishing Three New Elite Club Competitions
Published April 14, 2014
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U.K. TV RIGHTS: In London, Paul Rees reported BT Sport and Sky have agreed to a "deal for the British rights, which will be confirmed when Sky is formally released from its existing contract" with the Heineken Cup organizers, European Rugby Cup Ltd., and an agreement for the TV rights in France is "close to being signed." That is expected to "raise the value of the tournament's international rights" (GUARDIAN, 4/12).
CLUBS DEMAND COMPENSATION: Also in London, Hugh Godwin reported England's Premiership clubs are demanding £14M ($23.4M) from the Rugby Football Union as "compensation for the disruption caused by next year's World Cup in England and Wales." The clubs, "having paid tribute" to RFU CEO Ian Ritchie for "smoothing the new European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) accord," are set to test the resolve of the Int'l Rugby Board, with plans to "create a World Club Cup" in June '18. The month-long tournament, "which has been discussed" with broadcasters Sky in the U.K. and Supersport in South Africa, would see the eight quarterfinalists from the European Champions Cup "meeting eight crack southern-hemisphere teams from what by then will be the Super 16" (INDEPENDENT, 4/13).
'HARDLY A SURPRISE': Also in London, Steve James opined the details "were hardly a surprise, and in both rugby and financial terms it is hard to quibble with the changes." Qualification and distribution of revenues will "now be significantly fairer." Both competitions -- the second-tier competition will be called the European Rugby Challenge Cup -- "will now be stronger and more lucrative." What "is there not to like?" (TELEGRAPH, 4/12).