Celtic Rugby Unions Will Not Join European Competition Unless Int'l Rugby Board Approves
The Welsh, Scottish and Irish Rugby Unions insist their clubs "will not participate in any European competition unless it has the 'full approval'" of the Int'l Rugby Board, according to the BBC. English and French clubs "will quit the Heineken Cup next year and have proposed the rival Rugby Champions Cup." The Scottish Rugby Union said that it is "fully committed to the development of a pan European rugby competition." The SRU said in a statement, "Scottish Rugby remains committed to working with our colleagues across Europe and encourages all parties to fully engage in meaningful negotiations." Statements issued by the Irish and Welsh Rugby Unions, "whose sides play in the RaboDirect Pro12 league alongside the Scottish regions, were worded in a near-identical fashion," and their stance was "backed by the Italian federation as well" (BBC, 9/26). The Irish Rugby Football Union said in its statement, "The Irish Rugby Football Union wishes to clarify that its clubs will not be participating in future tournaments which do not have the full approval of the International Rugby Board (IRB) or the relevant National Rugby Unions" (EUROSPORT, 9/26).
THE ONLY WAY: In London, Alex Lowe wrote Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty insisted that Pro 12 clubs have “no viable alternative” than to join the new Rugby Champions Cup. He responded to the Celtic clubs' statement by saying "he had received between five and 10 expressions of interest from clubs who want to join the new European competition." McCafferty: "We know a lot of the teams want to be in the Rugby Champions Cup” (LONDON TIMES, 9/27).