RaboDirect Unions, French Say Heineken Cup Will Go Ahead 'Regardless'
The possibility of rival European club tournaments next season grew on Thursday after the four RaboDirect unions and France announced the Heineken Cup would continue, and English and French clubs insisted their Rugby Champions Cup "would go ahead regardless," according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. The five unions met in Dublin, one day after the Premiership and Top 14 clubs gathered in Paris, and "agreed that the Heineken Cup would continue next season, no matter how many countries were involved, and that it would continue to be run by European Rugby Cup Ltd, the body the clubs want nothing more to do with." RFU CEO Ian Ritchie, who has been trying to put together a deal between the two sides, "was not invited to the meeting," a move "which will backfire on the other unions" if the Rugby Football Union can convince Twickenham to side with its clubs and back the Rugby Champions Cup. The five unions issues a statement that said "a 20-team European club competition" would take place next season no matter how many countries were involved, it was pointed out at the meeting in Dublin that "its commercial viability would hinge on the French taking part" (GUARDIAN. 11/21).