ERC shock mutiny by elite clubs

Daftmedic

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#1
Clubs break off ERC discussions


The elite clubs of England and France have announced plans to quit the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup and form their own European competitions.




English and French clubs have announced plans to quit the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup


The elite clubs of England and France have announced their intention to quit the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup and form their own European competitions.


Discussions between Premiership clubs and their French counterparts with European Rugby Cup - organiser of the continental competitions - over a number of issues have been deadlocked for some time.


Now a statement released by Premiership Rugby has said: "The clubs can only conclude that negotiations on any new European agreement have now ended."


The 2013-14 ERC competitions were due to be the last in their current guise after the English and French club served notice to quit in June last year.


They have been calling for a restructure of the competitions, principally over the way money is distributed and for changes to the qualifying structure.


Despite discussions dating back some time, ERC and the clubs of the Pro12 have so far given little indication of conceding ground.


Now Premiership Rugby has tried to force the issue by announcing plans for alternative competitions featuring English and French sides.


Under the proposals there will be scope for sides from other countries to be included.


The statement read: "The 2013-14 Aviva Premiership Rugby season kicked off this weekend with our clubs having no clear view of new European competitions from next season onwards.


"The current European Rugby Cup (ERC) competitions terminate at the end of this season after notice was served by the English and French clubs in June 2012.


"Despite numerous meetings between the stakeholders over the last year, the last of which was in May, discussions have been unsuccessful and the clubs can only conclude that negotiations on any new European agreement have now ended.


"The English and French clubs have proposed the formation of two new, stronger competitions of 20 teams each, based on the principles of qualification on merit from each league, the inclusion of teams from all six existing countries and the expansion into new markets. These proposals could form the basis of future competitions.


"However, given the importance and urgency of the current position, and the reconfirmation that the French clubs will not participate in any competition unless it includes the English clubs, the clubs have now asked Premiership Rugby to take immediate action to put in place a competition for 2014-15 to include the French and English clubs but which will also be open to teams from other countries."


The European Rugby Cup directors will assemble for a scheduled board meeting in Dublin on Wednesday.


In a statement, ERC said: "All parties involved in the ongoing consultation process aimed at formulating a new accord which will provide for the structure and format of European club rugby tournaments for the 2014/15 season and beyond will be represented at a scheduled meeting of the ERC board in Dublin.


"While there is a shared sense of frustration among ERC's stakeholders at the lack of progress towards a new accord, the meeting will provide an opportunity for the parties to review the consultation process to date.


"The current accord, which was agreed by all stakeholders in 2007, includes a two-year notice period which began on June 1 2012 to allow for negotiations towards the formulation of a new agreement.


"The structure and format of both the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup remain in place until the end of the 2013/14 season."
 

winchesterref

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#2
From the limited information I have it seems entirely reasonable for the English/French to propose these changes and therefore form a new competition due to the unwillingness of the other nations to negotiate
 

The umpire

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#3
From the limited information I have it seems entirely reasonable for the English/French to propose these changes and therefore form a new competition due to the unwillingness of the other nations to negotiate
OK, I'll take the bait:smile:
"Unwillingness to negotiate" The PRL are effectively saying do what we want or we'll take our ball home, I don't call that negotiating.
 

KieranW

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#5
Hardly a shock...


They've already been on notice to leave for a year, and from what I understand there have been many attempts to sort something out (and I believe they have a genuine point). Also they will leave the competition open to clubs from other countries. Welsh, Scottish and Italian pro clubs would find it very hard to survive without the HEC, and the Irish clubs wouldn't be much better, so their hands may well be forced.



*shrug*

teddies, pram... it'll all be over by christmas.

didds
I disagree, this has been going on for a while now and they seem serious about it. That's not to say a compromise won't necessarily be reached though.
 
#6
c'mon, c'mon....... it's entirely reasonable for the Premiership Clubs to decide on *the revenue everyone gets, * whether their players get international recognition, * referee standards * the discipline sanctions towards their players* international ticket allocations * Irb scrum laws* how Sainsburys discount their seasonal fruit ...etc :sarc:
 

OB..

, Advises in England
#7
OK, I'll take the bait:smile:
"Unwillingness to negotiate" The PRL are effectively saying do what we want or we'll take our ball home, I don't call that negotiating.
Or alternatively they have pointed out the problems and the other simply rejects them. Who knows? Why should I care? Both sides are inevitably playing politics and none of us will get a say.
 

didds

, Resident Club Coach
#8
well... I was being somewhat faceitious Kieran ;-)

If they want their own competition so be it. This has echoes of the RFU Sky deal in the 90s all over it... the others will all throw their teddies out the pram (again), there will be threats of litigation and refusal to play each other nationally and whatever else, everyone will be grumpy at each other, and after a year or two ("christmas") they'll all join the same party bith sides claiming the moral highground and "victory".

nothing to see here, move along, keep moving...

didds
 

Robert Burns

Administrator
Staff member
#9
How will the new 20 team format be stronger when most of the teams who have won the European cup since it's existence When you remove three of it's 10 winners?

There has been 17 cups, 6 of which have been won by clubs that they will exclude (they leave the door open for them yes, but to join on their terms only). That's 33% easier now for the English & French Teams to win.

Is there bad sportsmanship going on here because they haven't won a cup since 2007?

The Scots, Welsh & Italians have never won the cup, you don't see them threatening to leave about it. That's why it's a sport!

European Rugby is going from Strength to strength at the moment, and unfortunately I believe this action by the PRC (which the French are being led along with like little a small dog in a handbag) is going to ruin that strength.

Talk about think of yourself. I get the feeling the whole 'Open to other countries teams' is just a spin to make it look like they are not chasing the money. I wonder how well they will think they are doing when the grounds are only 10% full because they are playing Bucharest, not Munster!
 

winchesterref

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#10
The English and French want to make qualification fairer, I see that as equitable and essential.

PRL have negotiated a TV deal providing greater revenue and the Celtic nations/Italy are angry about that, why? Greater pie, bigger slice, fairer qualification and distribution process. No brainer for me
 

Robert Burns

Administrator
Staff member
#13
The English and French want to make qualification fairer, I see that as equitable and essential.

PRL have negotiated a TV deal providing greater revenue and the Celtic nations/Italy are angry about that, why? Greater pie, bigger slice, fairer qualification and distribution process. No brainer for me
Mainly because it's not the HRC that decides which clubs qualify, it's the Union.

If the Celtic Nations had a professional league of 12 & 14 clubs, I'm sure they would be quite happy, but the player base & participation makes that near impossible compared to those of England & France.

As stated before:

France 7 Clubs (Out of 14)
England 6 Clubs (Out of 12)
Ireland 4 Clubs (Out of 4)
Wales 3 Clubs (Out of 4)
Scotland 2 Clubs (out of 2)
Italy 2 Clubs (out of 2)

But if you look at the Amlin cup too:

France 7 Clubs (Out of 14)
England 6 Clubs (Out of 12)
Italy 4 Clubs (out of 10)
Portugal 1 Club
Romania 1 Club
Wales 1 Club

So Every professional club in England, France, Wales, Ireland, Italy & Scotland play in Europe.

England & France split participation based on Lague positions as they have strong domestic leagues. France Get the extra places due to also winning the HC.
Ireland has all four in the top competition, based on the fact all three are based on RPD12 finish, and the extra spot as Leinster won the Amlin cup.
Wales has top 3 teams in HC, and lowest placed team in ACC.
Scotland Has both Pro teams in HC, and forfeits places in the ACC.
Italy has both pro teams in the HC, and it's top four club teams in the ACC to help develop their league.
Romania, Portugal and Spain all have their champions in the ACC.

So it's hardly unfair, it's just economics of the sport.

In the UK and France clubs travel up & down their leagues depending on how they play.
In Ireland, Wales, Italy & Scotland the teams are regional and have feeder clubs to get their players from, there is no Promotion or Relegation (just like Super Rugby).

So trying to compare the two systems really is like comparing apples & pears.

If the Celtic counties were using their Top domestic teams, in their top domestic competitions, I would then fully agree with the PRC and French stance.
 
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crossref

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#14
but the truth of the matter is that if eng and france are where the action is. The countries aren't equal.

if next season we have two competitions, one with Eng/Fra and one with the rest, we all know which competition will be stronger.
 

didds

, Resident Club Coach
#15
I join this debate purely from a theoretical stance. i really don;t care either way.

wrt the claim that the competiton with Eng and french clubs WILL be stronger... may be... to some degree. It will still contain the clubs that are drowning at the bottom of the premiership in England, so one presumes they will hardly be competitive - and certainly not as competitive as the top irish and welsh teams..

and if all the english and frech teams are in the anglo-french cup, wghere does that elave the premiership and the Top14 competitions? Won;t it all get a bit samey?

didds

didds
 

KieranW

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#16
The English and French reasoning however (which I completely understand) is that with the exception of a welsh club (usually dragons) all pro 12 clubs get an automatic place in the HEC, meaning they treat the pro 12 as a kind of 'warm up' league and rest their players for the HEC.

Take the 2009 Heineken cup final between Leicester and Leinster. Prior to it, tigers had a premiership semi final vs bath and the week after a hard fought win in the final against Irish - both very physical matches using their first team players. Meanwhile, Leinster had 2 Celtic league matches. 2 weeks prior they used first team players vs Scarlets and whooped them 48-5, but the following week (the week prior to the H cup final) they rested their first team players and were beaten by dragons 18-9. This was at the same time as tigers were playing in a final. Leinster had no incentive to do well in the Celtic league. They came 3rd, had they beat dragons they would've finished second)

In the final Leinster won 19-16. With such a close game one can't help but think how it would've been different had Leinster had to play its major players the week before.

Sure I'm a Leicester fan, but this could've happened to any English or French club, and is what I see as the main reason people want to change.
 

MrQeu

Rugby Club Member
#17
The system nowadays is by no means perfect, so ok, let's change it and make it fairer:

6 nations, 4 teams per union, 24 teams. Wow, stop there, English and French teams are not going to like that, are they?


Anyhow, last year the semi finals were 2 FRA, 1 ENG, 1 IRE and quarterfinals were 3 FRA, 3 ENG, 2 IRE. Sometimes Irish teams are better, other times it's English teams, and other it's French ones.


As for players resting, last year Stade Toulousain decided not to compete in Amlin. They played Perpignà and had their best players resting, so they lost. They had a chance to win the cup as every team was subpar compared to them but for Leinster. Many people in Toulouse were disappointed. Will that change in they new competition? Will teams not rest players if they choose to? I hardly believe it.

It's all about money after all.

PS: @Robert, Spain won't play in Amlin this year. Long story short, we all hate FER (Spanish union). They had an invitation for the national team to play in Amlin in a barbarians style (Olympus XV) but the union declined it just after the pools were drawn. Portugal took the place (Lusitanos XV). That'll mean that no Spanish club not team will play in a international club competition for a long time if a miracle doesn't happen.
 

crossref

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#18
at the end of the day it's more important for the welsh, irish, italians and romanians to play with the english/french, than it is the other way around.
 

Dixie

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#19
How will the new 20 team format be stronger when .. you remove three of it's 10 winners?
I think you may have missed the point that concerns both the English and the French. That point is that they feel the structure unfairly favours those sides that you mention, making it much less likely that an English or French team can win. The reason is that as the Rabo12 competition has no relegation, sides that perform in that league can rest their players for league games, ensuring they are fresh and ready for European games. Meanwhile, the English and French teams have to battle hard in league games in addition to European competitions, to avoid relegation. Of course, it might be argued that by doing so, the Rabo12 sides risk doing so poorly in their league that they won't qualify for Europe next year. But Scottish and Italian sides get automatic qualification no matter how badly they do in the league.

English and French viewers account for perhaps 80% of the value of the competition to TV - and yet those viewers and the clubs they supports are being short-changed by a structure which favours teams from the nations generating 20% of the revenue. The English and French participants feel that nont onyl can they level the playing field, buyt they can also improve their revenues from the competition 3-fold. Could they get the smaller nations to vote for Christmas? No. Do they care? Probably not.