Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Heineken Cup will take back seat in future

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really started

With Frank Brownlow

Published 07/10/2013

Keeping focus: English and Welsh clubs will be hoping for success in the Heineken Cup despite curent off-pitch problems
Keeping focus: English and Welsh clubs will be hoping for success in the Heineken Cup despite curent off-pitch problems

It's ironic that Ulster's biggest game of the season, against Leicester Tigers at Ravenhill on Friday night, comes in a tournament that has a very uncertain future.

The Heineken Cup has been a big hit but it now seems certain that changes are imminent given the dissatisfaction of the English and French clubs about the current format of the tournament.

But expect the event – in whatever guise – to take a back seat in the future.

That's because a world club tournament is a certainty.

And given the massive audiences – and hence potential revenue – that the English and French clubs can bring to the table, there will be guaranteed spots for both countries.

The champions of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will also get the nod.

The Middle East would be the ideal venue as that would suit television and the clubs as a staging post between Europe/South Africa and Australia/New Zealand.

The likes of Dubai and Qatar would lap up the chance to stage such an event.

A six or eight-team tournament could be played off in little over two weeks.

Ulster's only route into this extravaganza would be as PRO12 champions or possibly as the top Irish province in that league.

The debate on the Heineken Cup's future may be raging at the moment, but soon it will be playing second fiddle to the big guns on the world stage.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph