ERC announce that French and English clubs will rejoin negotiations to save the Heineken Cup
The ERC has released a statement following a meeting today that gives hope to the survival of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Tournament organisers face a battle to save the Heineken Cup after disgruntled English and French clubs announced plans for a rival event yesterday.
European Rugby Cup directors went into a scheduled board meeting in Dublin today, knowing the tournament's future is on the line.
Top English and French clubs served notice last year of their intention to quit the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup when an existing agreement expires next summer.
They want changes to the structure of both continental competitions, principally over the number of teams involved, the qualifying process and how funds are distributed.
And after what Premiership Rugby and their French counterparts feel has been a lack of progress in talks with ERC, they have unveiled alternative plans, which includes an invitation for teams from other countries to enter any new tournament but the ERC have announced today that negotiations for a new ERC Accord would recommence.
"Despite recent reports, all parties involved in the formulation of a new ERC Accord, including the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) and Premiership Rugby, have reaffirmed their commitment to the process. A meeting focused solely on the negotiations will be convened by ERC as soon as practicable," the ERC statement read.
"It was agreed at a scheduled ERC Board meeting in Dublin today (Wednesday, 11 September 2013) that ERC would facilitate the discussions and that the current points of difference, including the share of central revenues, qualification and season dates, would all be on the table.
"The Board reiterated that European club competitions must be organised by ERC and that any purported cross-border club tournaments needed the approval both of the IRB, and of the relevant Unions who are shareholders of ERC.
"Surprise was expressed at the timing and content of yesterday's media announcements by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) and Premiership Rugby, and representatives of both bodies were invited to explain their positions.
"It was pointed out that there was a range of proposals made by stakeholders, none of which were acceptable to all parties, and it was agreed that the negotiations towards a definitive solution needed to begin again in earnest."