Thursday 22 February 2018

RFU chief in Dublin for crunch talks on European crisis

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie
Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie

Nick Purewal

English rugby chief Ian Ritchie was embroiled in a last-ditch attempt to solve the European rugby crisis on Thursday as he met union bosses in Dublin.

The Rugby Football Union chief executive travelled to Ireland to meet counterparts from European unions. The summit will be chaired by independent mediator Graeme Mew, appointed by European Rugby Cup, the Heineken Cup organisers.

While the RFU confirmed Ritchie has attended this latest round of talks, no one from Premiership Rugby or the Welsh regions has travelled.

The English clubs have refused to participate in any further talks with ERC on the Heineken situation.

Premiership Rugby is adamant it will go it alone, even though its breakaway Champions Cup competition has hit the skids.

Representatives from the French Rugby Federation are also anticipated to attend.

The Aviva Premiership clubs had hoped to form a rival European competition, initially gaining the backing of their French equivalent body, Ligue Nationale de Rugby.

But the LNR performed a dramatic U-turn late last month, that could leave the English clubs high and dry with no European action next season.

The Welsh regions, unhappy with their set-up with the Welsh Rugby Union, are agitating for a breakaway Anglo-Welsh league.

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