Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

No progress in ERC talks

Talks about the structure and format of the Heineken Cup, pictured, and the Amlin Challenge Cup continue in February

A meeting of ERC stakeholders has brought about no agreement regarding the ongoing discussions about the future of European club rugby tournaments.

In what was the fourth meeting of the game's powerbrokers, who are looking to find a solution to the proposed changes to the current setup by Premiership Rugby, no solution could be found, with further talks now planned for February 6.

Premiership Rugby announced in September that it had signed a new TV deal with BT which could lead to a new-look European Cup, with both them and their French counterparts stating their intent to end the current agreement in 2014.

That has forced the ERC to take stock, but in a new statement they said: "The meeting agenda included an evaluation, conducted by ERC, of the merits and the rationale for the proposed changes to the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, as well as the impact on all stakeholders of any changes to the format and structure of both tournaments.

"While the evaluation provided the basis for discussion, the meeting ended without agreement. Jean-Pierre Lux, ERC independent Chairman, concluded the proceedings by calling on all parties to take time to reflect on their positions and to consider the collective objectives of the stakeholders."

Lux added his disappointment at the length of time it was taking to strike a deal, saying: "After four meetings, it is extremely disappointing for all involved that we have not yet made sufficient progress towards a new Accord.

"These tournaments have become cherished by the clubs, players, supporters and our partners. Everyone around the table remains committed to making European club rugby stronger and we are confident a solution will be found."

While February 6 is not an appointed date for talks on this issue, the board of the ERC is scheduled to meet on that date.

The structure and format of both the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup remain in place until the end of the 2013/14 season.

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