European Rugby Champions Cup To Make Belated Scheduling Announcement
The allotment of pool weekends along with the "dates, kick-off times and television coverage for the opening rounds of the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup will be belatedly announced" on Thursday, according to Gerry Thornley of the IRISH TIMES. That the "tardy announcement will only unveil specific timings for the opening two rounds rather than the first four weekends, is also somewhat indicative of the troubles" which the organizers, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), "have experienced since assuming command of the new tournaments last April." Although Heineken will reportedly renew its association with "the blue riband of European club rugby as one of the prospective partners, none of the anticipated four or five commercial partners have thus far been signed up, while negotiations are merely ongoing with other prospective sponsors." The EPCR is "also still searching for an independent chairman to head its 12-strong board, which is almost identical in make-up to the erstwhile board of the ERC." In a "richly ironic development, a further indication of the difficulties which EPCR have encountered is that they have been obliged to subcontract the running of the inaugural tournament" to around 16 or 17 staff from the ERC (IRISH TIMES, 8/13).