Heineken Cup
ERC 'frustrated and dismayed' by threat
ESPN Staff
August 24, 2012
Wasps' retiring captain Lawrence Dallaglio parades the Premiership trophy alongside prop Tim Payne, London Wasps v Leicester Tigers, Premiership final, Twickenham, May 31 2008.
Wasps were the last English club to lift the Heineken Cup © Getty Images

The ERC have reacted with dismay to the threats made by Aviva Premiership and Top 14 Orange clubs that they will withdraw from the Heineken Cup unless the current format is changed.

Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty has suggested that an Anglo-French competition could be on the cards if the ERC fails to adhere to their demands to alter the qualification process for the Heineken Cup. English and French clubs believe that it is too heavily weighted in favour of the RaboDirect PRO12.

But the ERC has responded stating chairman Jean-Pierre Lux and chief executive Derek McGrath have spent the summer seeking proposals from stakeholders that will be tabled at the next meeting in Dublin on September 18. They stress that the English and French clubs consented to the existing accord, agreed in 2007 and which has two more seasons to run.

The effective deadline for a new agreement is 2014 when the current accord expires, providing a potential two-year window for the posturing and brinkmanship to continue. "We are dismayed and frustrated at the position that has been taken by Premier Rugby," ERC spokesman Mark Jones said. "This is a process that is laid down as part of the accord agreed in 2007. It's not a bolt out of the blue.

"The current qualification process was agreed by ERC's shareholders as part of the 2007 accord. This current process is expected and the way it should be.

"We welcome a full review of the tournament and we believe that at the end of the consultation process, European rugby will emerge stronger. All of our shareholders have said they want to see European rugby thrive and have agreed this consultation process. Our meeting on September 18 in Dublin is the second step in the process."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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