Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Goze plans to solve cup issues

Paul Goze is the newly-elected president of the LNR

Perpignan president Paul Goze has been elected as the new president of the Ligue National de Rugby (LNR) and has vowed to help solve the ongoing crisis over the future of the Heineken Cup.

Little progress has been made in four meetings so far to determine the format of the European competition from 2014, and Goze acknowledged the issue will be near the top of his in-tray as he succeeds Pierre-Yves Revol and begins a four-year mandate.

The 61-year-old former second-row forward told reporters in France: "The European Cup affair and the international calendar are very big issues to work through, and ones which we really must solve during this mandate."

The Top 14 and England's Aviva Premiership clubs have submitted a proposal for a reduction of the Heineken Cup to 20 teams and qualification on merit across the board.

The RaboDirect PRO12 sides, meanwhile, want to keep the current model which guarantees them automatic qualification. That system saw last season's semi-finalists Edinburgh return to the elite competition this term despite a 10th-placed finish in the PRO12.

Goze's first opportunity to flex his muscles on the European stage will come on December 12 when ERC stakeholders meet in London and the governing body will present their evaluation of the Anglo-French proposal.

On the domestic front, Goze confirmed the Top 14 will remain in its current format for the short term but did not rule out an eventual expansion to 16 teams.

Goze was also named as one of eight club representatives on the LNR's administrative committee while his rival for the top job, former Stade Francais president Max Guazzini, was also named on that committee.

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