Further European talks expected after Dublin meeting ends
English RFU attend in bid to find solution to current impasse
English Rugby Football Union chairman Bill Beaumont attended talks in Dublin on the future of European club competition. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
English rugby boss Ian Ritchie left crisis talks on the future of European rugby by promising to continue the mediation in January.
English Rugby Football Union chief executive Ritchie and chairman Bill Beaumont attended talks in Dublin chaired by independent mediator Graeme Mew on Friday.
Each of the six nations comprising top-level European rugby held a presence at the meeting, while no club bodies were represented at all.
Influential French Rugby Federation boss Pierre Camou also attended, along with top brass from Scotland, Wales and Italy.
European Rugby Cup, the body that runs the Heineken Cup, were unable to attend, to allow the process to be completely impartial.
It is understood that all parties left the meeting in a positive outlook and with further talks scheduled after the new year.
Ritchie attended in a bid to find some solution to the current limbo that leaves English clubs adrift without any European competition next term.
Premiership Rugby, the English club body, has refused to enter any further negotiation with ERC.
PRL’s attempts to form a breakaway Rugby Champions Cup competition have floundered at least in the short term, with the French now refusing to switch until season 2015-16 at the earliest.
English clubs could face a year without European action, should Ritchie and the RFU be unable to broker a compromise.
The other unions have proposed a revamped five-nation, 20-team tournament for next season.
The French have agreed to join that competition for next term, on the proviso the English are included to boot.
But the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, the French club body, still want to break away from that structure in 2015-16.
Premiership Rugby are adamant they will press on with their BT Sport television rights deal, at odds with ERC’s Sky contract.