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French clubs side with unions

England's clubs appeared isolated on Thursday night after their French counterparts released a statement indicating their desire to join a European competition run by the unions.

The future of the proposed breakaway, named the Rugby Champions Cup, hinged on the commitment of the French clubs, but they now look set to join the rival format that will be overseen by European Rugby Cup.

Presidents of the Top 14 teams gathered in Paris on Thursday afternoon for a meeting of Ligue Nationale de Rugby, which runs the league, and chose to side with the governing bodies.

"The clubs voted unanimously that a new structure is put in place to organise new competitions in accordance with the federations," read a statement released by LNR.

Last Thursday the Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French and Italian unions issued a joint statement declaring they stood "side by side" in driving a format overseen by ERC.

Tellingly, the Rugby Football Union was absent from the meeting in Dublin as a result of the refusal by the English clubs, who are represented by Premiership Rugby, to recognise ERC.

Premiership Rugby has been categorical in its refusal to operate under the auspices of ERC, which is run by the unions.

Support for the Rugby Champions Cup from the Top 14 appeared to be wavering last week amid pressure and financial incentives from their union.


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