The future of European rugby
Italians delay European announcement
ESPN Staff
March 27, 2014
Leinster and Northampton will both feature in the new-look European tournament next season © Getty Images

An announcement over the future of European rugby which was due to be made on Wednesday was delayed because the Italian board wanted more time to discuss the details.

The six unions that play in the Heineken Cup met in Dublin on Tuesday to thrash out the finer details of a new re-jigged tournament ahead of next season, a compromise that looks set to end two years of discussion over the future of the domestic game in Europe.

The IRF's concern revolves is that it may be worse off financially under the new deal. Earlier in the year it threatened to withdraw from the Pro12 as it was not prepared to continue paying around €3 million to play in the competition.

Reports at the weekend suggest the new tournament will consist of 20 teams with six qualifying from the Top 14 and the Aviva Premiership alongside seven from the RaboDirect PRO12 with the last place going to the winner of a play-off between the seventh-placed side in the French league and the English top flight.

Underneath the top-tier tournament will be a second-tier competition made up of the other teams from the three leagues. There will also be a third-tier for clubs from countries including Georgia, Romania, Russia, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The broadcast rights for the new competitions, which remaining the last major stumbling block, has also been revolved with Sky Sports and BT Sport reaching a compromise whereby the rights are shared between the,.

The current administrative board in charge of the Heineken Cup, European Rugby Cup Ltd, is based in Dublin, the new tournament will be run by a company in Switzerland.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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