'Catastrophe' if the Heineken Cup can't be saved - O'Driscoll
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL believes it would be a "catastrophe" if the Heineken Cup cannot be saved in its current format.
The legendary Ireland centre added his voice to the growing list of players hoping to save the tournament with a comment on his Twitter page last night.
"Catastrophe if the HCup finishes. Can understand both sides' argument. Growing the game Vs best teams/broadcasting revenue," wrote O'Driscoll.
His comments came after IRFU chief executive Philip Browne insisted that the future of the professional game in Ireland could be in jeopardy. Browne is encouraged by the progress made at yesterday's ERC Board meeting but has warned that there is far more at stake than just the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups. The international game could also suffer.
"The IRFU funds the entire game of rugby in Ireland. What happens if there is just an Anglo-French club competition? Italy and Scotland will fall followed by Ireland and Wales. International rugby will be destroyed," he suggested.
Rugby in Ireland is dependant on the revenues earned by the international team. That money trickles down to sustain all levels of rugby. Browne doesn't believe Ireland can sustain the prolonged loss of money earned by the provinces.
"This Anglo-French suggestion threatens the future of all rugby outside of France and England. If the English and French clubs hoover up all the playing talent in Ireland what happens to our international team?
If we can't maintain a professional game in Ireland will enough of our players be playing in England and France to allow us to field an international team? The answer is no. The future of the professional game in Ireland, and in other nations, is at stake and it's time for the IRB to wake up and smell the coffee. That is how serious this issue is," he added.