/ Rugby

ERC asks league representatives to "cease public ultimatums" about the future of European rugby

Updated: Saturday, 14 Sep 2013 13:52 | Comments

The future of the Heineken Cup in its current guise is under threat
The future of the Heineken Cup in its current guise is under threat

The ERC have publicly called for representatives of Premiership Rugby and Ligue National de France to stop making public statements about the future of European-level club rugby.

A statement released by European Rugby Cup (ERC) Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux and Chief Executive Derek McGrath, in response to statements by Peter Wheeler and René Bouscatel, asked for ERC shareholders to “cease public ultimatums and to enter into genuine and decisive negotiations aimed at strengthening European club rugby”.

Wheeler is the chairman of the Leicester Tigers and an ERC board member. He said today that neither he nor Bouscatel agreed with the content of the ERC statement on Wednesday affirming the commitment of all parties to meet again and resolve the dispute under the auspices of the ERC.

Wheeler said: “In support of the personal statement made yesterday by René Bouscatel of Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), I would like to say I too was surprised by the press statement issued after the meeting on September 11 2013 of the board of ERC of which I am a member. I would make the following points about the content of this statement. No decision was made by the ERC board to reiterate that European club rugby competitions must necessarily be organised by ERC.

“Secondly, concerning the proposal of some of this board to organise a meeting of the stakeholders, it is the sole right of the individual parties (unions and league organisations) to take a view on any such proposal.”

McGrath and Lux said today: "Together we confirm that it was agreed at last Wednesday's Board meeting in Dublin, that ERC, as a signatory to the current Accord, should be involved in all future negotiations aimed at the formulation of a new Accord for the 2014/15 season and beyond.

"To that end, the Board requested that ERC should convene the next, and future, meetings, and that it should consider the appointment of a mediator to move the negotiations forward towards a successful resolution. This process is now under way.

"The Board further agreed that bearing in mind the commitments the company has already entered into, no other structure other than ERC would be appropriate to organise European tournaments going forward.

"We believe it is now time for ERC's shareholders to cease public ultimatums and to enter into genuine and decisive negotiations aimed at strengthening European club rugby.

"A date for the next Accord meeting will be announced shortly."

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