Anglo-French clubs to boycott Heineken Cup talks
Breakaway clubs insist there is nothing to discuss as the ERC is finished
The leading English and French clubs have written to the organisers of the Heineken Cup confirming they will not be attending next month’s talks in Dublin which were arranged to find a way of saving the tournament.
Premiership Rugby and Ligue Nationale de Rugby are pressing ahead with organising replacements for the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup with a warning to the three Celtic unions and Italy that they face financial meltdown if they refuse to allow their clubs to take part.
The October 23rd-24th meeting was arranged by European Rugby Cup Ltd to break 15 months of deadlock and it has hired a mediator, the Canadian lawyer Graeme Mew, to find a way of bringing the unions and the French and English clubs together – a plan that looks doomed to failure.
“We have had an email from Mr Mew and our response is that, as we have no dispute with ERC, there is nothing to mediate over,” said the Premiership Rugby chief executive, Mark McCafferty. “We and the French clubs have put that in writing and we have declined the Dublin invitation.
“ERC is finished. Its competitions have gone and our focus is on setting up the Rugby Champions Cup as it takes a lot of effort to put everything in place. We want all the teams from the six countries involved in the Heineken Cup to take part but it will be run by the clubs with safeguards put in place to ensure it does not cut across international rugby.”