It seems that the bickering between interested parties surrounding the future of European Cup Rugby is now spreading to the journalists covering the game.
Former England hooker Brian Moore, who writes for The Daily Telegraph, has labelled Gerry Thornley of the Irish Times “a fool”, after Thornley questioned some of Moore’s assertions about the Irish rugby media.
Moore, writing in The Daily Telegraph, explained that the French Federation de Rugby (FFR) were in favour of creating a UEFA-style organisation to run European Rugby, thereby strengthening links with the smaller European rugby nations, and basing this new body in Geneva.
Moore wrote: “The choice of Switzerland as opposed to Dublin is not just for tax reasons; it is to remove the physical proximity of European club rugby from the International Rugby Board and the Six Nations Committee (both based in Dublin) and especially the Irish influence about which the French and English have complained for many years.
“The Irish, especially their tame media, hysterically denounce any move away from this convenient arrangement as greedy, knowing full well that their influence will dissipate if this geographical link is severed."
Thornley, speaking on Newstalk, responded strongly to Moore’s opinion of the Irish rugby media, and suggested that he look closer to home to find timidity amongst rugby writers.
“I am not aware of one single member of the Irish media even objecting to the possibility of the ERC or IRB offices being moved abroad”, Thornley said.
“What is true is that it seems to be a little bit of a bugbear with the English and French clubs, and others, that the ERC and IRB offices are based in Dublin, and part of the motivation for wanting to get rid of the ERC and the setting up of a new organisation would be that it would be based elsewhere.
"Whether it is based in Dublin or Geneva does not particularly bother me.
"As for their being a tame media (in Ireland); Brian Moore should read his own paper particularly - The Telegraph, and The Guardian, and a lot of other papers, with the honourable exception of The London Times, who just toe the PRL (Premier Rugby Limited) line from the word go, and just back their clubs.
"Any time there is a statement by anybody else they go straight to ‘rent-a-quote’ Mark McCafferty (PRL CEO), quote him verbatim, and present the Rugby Champions Cup, which was never going to get off the ground, as a fait accompli.
“If there is any tame media out there it is in his own back garden.”
Moore, responding on Twitter, claimed he had never been told to write anything, and called Thornley “a fool”.
Understand @gerrythornley has said I only write what the RFU tells me to. I've never written anything anyone has told me to; man's a fool.— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) December 11, 2013