Heineken Cup organizers will examine two alternative models for the rugby tournament as they "seek to resolve the acrimonious arguments over the future of European club rugby’s most-prestigious tournament," according to John Westerby of the LONDON TIMES. English and French clubs, which said in June they wished to withdraw from the competition at the end of next season, favor a 20-team competition, or four fewer than the present structure. That model would feature the top six teams from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the RaboDirect PRO12, plus the winners of the previous season’s Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup. They want to "introduce a greater meritocratic element to qualification for the tournament," which does not currently exist for PRO12 clubs. The alternative models will be "discussed again at the next stakeholder meeting" in London on Dec. 12 (LONDON TIMES, 10/31).
Events and Attractions
Manyof the world’s leading players are in China this week for the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shenzen, but the world’s top two players are not among them "and the sponsors are not pleased," according to Peter Dixon of the LONDON TIMES. The tournament is dubbed “Asia’s Major,” but Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have given it a wide berth. HSBC head of sponsorship Giles Morgan said, “On one level, we are delighted because we have a really strong field, but we are disappointed that the top two players in the world aren’t here. I feel strongly that the top players should be here. I believe that golfers have a responsibility to their sponsors" (LONDON TIMES, 10/31)