Twickenham's Ian Ritchie Agrees With RFL That Change Needed In Heineken Cup Qualifying
After a second round of negotiations over the future of the Heineken Cup on Monday, the Rugby Football Union indicated that it sympathized with the English clubs in their demand for an overhaul of the competition’s structure, according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. Twickenham CEO Ian Ritchie did not back the clubs’ "controversial TV deal with BT Vision, reiterating that the union’s approval for it had not been given or sought." But he agreed with Premier Rugby Limited’s assertion that "there should be greater meritocracy in terms of qualification for the tournament," and all the teams from the six participating countries "should earn their place rather than be guaranteed it." Ritchie said questions about the legalities of PRL’s position should be “parked” and all efforts focused instead on reaching a settlement, however long it took. Richie: “We want to try and help bring that agreement together, recognising that it is very important to have a good, highly competitive, meritocratic competition that exists across Europe. I think we certainly support a view — most people do — that some change in the competition would be a good idea. How far it goes, what the nature of it is, is the discussion that has to be had" (LONDON TIMES, 10/9).