Heineken Cup
Clubs primed for legal fight
ESPN Staff
September 29, 2013
Saracens owner Nigel Wray watches the action at the Middlesex 7s,  Twickenham, England, August 12, 2006
Saracens chairman Nigel Wray is confident the Rugby Champions Cup competition will come to fruition next season © Getty Images

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray has signalled the English clubs' intent to fight any move to block the Rugby Champions Cup coming to fruition.

Premiership Rugby, the umbrella body representing the leading English clubs, and its French counterparts, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), confirmed earlier this month that they plan to form a new competition for the 2014-15 season - the Rugby Champions Cup - having failed to negotiate changes to the structure of the Heineken Cup and also the qualification criteria and the distribution of revenue.

However, any new cross-border tournament requires the approval of the respective unions and the International Rugby Board with chief executive Brett Gosper having already gone on record to say the governing body's preference is a pan-European tournament.

Such a scenario is set to lead to a court battle and Wray and his colleagues are up for the legal fight. "Mr Gosper of the IRB has said a few things, but I don't care. He's not a Saracens shareholder as far as I am aware," Wray told The Rugby Paper.

"He said they won't sanction our new competition if it only involves the English and French. Okay, we'll see you in court then, mate! The IRB's stance has to be illegal. It doesn't take a genius to work out it's anti-competitive under European Law.

"We could be in engineering or pharmaceuticals, all we want to do is run a business. You can't have somebody called the IRB saying you can't take an order from Toulouse, but you can take one from Dublin. Sorry Mr Gosper, but it's none of your business."

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