Heineken Cup
ERC: Differences are not 'insurmountable'
ESPN Staff
September 17, 2013
ERC chief executive Derek McGrath talks to the media, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England, April 19, 2007
ERC chief executive Derek McGrath says clubs will have to compromise over aspects they seek to change in the Heineken Cup © Getty Images

European Rugby Cup Ltd has invited all of the stakeholders involved with the future of the Heineken Cup to a meeting in Dublin as they seek to end attempts to "ambush or denigrate the discussions".

ERC is adamant the misgivings expressed by Premiership Rugby (PRL) and Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) are not "insurmountable" but the organisation in charge of the Heineken Cup claims compromise will have to occur if progress is to be made.

PRL announced last Tuesday it had agreed with French counterparts LNR to form a breakaway competition for the 2014-15 season. Both organisations hold misgivings over the distribution of votes and revenue in the current Union-run system and the qualification process for the Heineken Cup. PRL and LNR served their respective notices to ERC in June 2012 saying they would leave the organisation unless changes were made.

ERC has since remained adamant that some compromise can be found and there can be a Heineken Cup next term but PRL and LNR show no signs of budging in their wish to leave the ERC and form their own club-run tournament for next term.

On Tuesday, ERC president Jean-Pierre Lux lashed out at the Anglo-French alliance and claimed they were using "guerrilla" tactics to force their requests for change through. But ERC is seeking new talks over the future of the Heineken Cup and has invited representatives from France, Italy, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland to a meeting in Dublin on October 23.

The statement from the ERC also adds that it is "compiling a shortlist of mediators to assist in the negotiations" over the points of difference.

ERC CEO, Derek McGrath, said: "The involvement of all parties in ERC's make-up is as vital now as it was in the early days of the organisation. The only forum which can provide the platform for all-party negotiation under the Accord is the ERC forum and any attempt to ambush or denigrate the discussions is clearly not in the best interest of these great European tournaments.

"More than one year has passed since notice was served on the Accord and no proposal to date has received sufficient support to provide the basis for progress. This should not be seen as insurmountable, as agreement on European tournaments has always required compromise with an acceptance that no party will secure everything on their wish-list.

"The only way we ever made progress in previous Accord negotiations was by serious engagement on the part of all ERC decision-makers. The same positive approach is required now and it is hoped that all signatories to the Accord will dedicate their energy to the renewed process."

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