Premiership Rugby CEO McCafferty Says No Going Back On New European Competition
Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty said that "European rugby's new club competition is a 'train that has left the station' but there is still just time to pick up the Heineken Cup refuseniks," according to Mitch Phillips of REUTERS. Although "there are still a number of issues to be finalised, notably about the governance, the English and French leagues and the Welsh regions are all committed to the new two-tier 'Rugby Champions Cup' which will swing into action next season." Ireland, whose clubs "have excelled in the Heineken Cup in recent years, Scotland and Italy are still holding out in the hope that negotiations can save the existing competition, currently in its 19th season." But McCafferty said that "there was no going back." He said, "It's sorted. It's just a question of which teams want to join. Everyone has to make their own decision." Of the 38 clubs that "would effectively qualify for the Heineken and its secondary competition, the Amlin Challenge Cup, 30 are ready to proceed with the breakaway, along with another two proposed from Europe's 'emerging' rugby nations." McCafferty: "The clubs are telling us they want things in place quickly. They need to organize season tickets, fixtures, broadcast arrangements etc and those things need to start happening soon. At the end of May there will be a playoff for the final qualifying place so we really are just about at the end of the road" (REUTERS, 11/13).