European rugby split
Celtic unions demand more World Cup cash
October 15, 2013
Wales and their Celtic associates want to know what their European future holds © PA Photos
Less than 24 hours after it was reported the Welsh clubs were going to demand a bigger share of the spoils from the breakaway Champions Cup as a price for their joining, it has emerged that the Celtic unions are asking for a greater share of revenue from the World Cup should talks over the future of European rugby collapse.
A rock and a hard place
The three unions - Wales, Scotland and Ireland - fear they will lose significant income should the breakaway happen and are looking to make good the shortfall by demanding more income from the World Cup.
"If Europe isn't solved with a fair solution for the Celtic countries the World Cup will have to be looked at from the point of view of the money it generates," a source told the Times. "We would have to do this otherwise the game in Ireland, Wales and Scotland would cease to exist. Ultimately this is about the survival of rugby in the Celtic unions. This is not an idle threat. It is a 'needs must' position."
While English and French clubs have already committed to the Champions Cup, those from the Celtic countries as well as Italy have yet to do so as they wait to see how the situation develops in the coming weeks.
Although there is no question of the countries boycotting the World Cup, the stance does highlight the growing concern over the future financing of the game. The European competitions have given them greater financial security, so the uncertainty as to what will happen beyond this season is of great concern to them.
To add to the confusion, the RFU has yet to take any position regarding the breakaway tournament, preferring to try to negotiate behind the scenes. With pressure growing from the Celtic unions, that position cannot continue for much longer.
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