Heineken Cup
Wheeler: No agreement ERC will run future cup
ESPN Staff
September 13, 2013

Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Wheeler and Ligue Nationale de Rugby's Rene Bouscatel have denied any notion of an agreement being made that any future European tournament will be run by European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC).

Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL) announced on Tuesday that it intended to form a new breakaway European tournament with its French counterparts Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) ahead of next season. Both organisations served their notice to the ERC in June 2012 stating that unless certain aspects of the Heineken Cup were changed, they would leave the tournament.

After months of talks between the different Unions involved with the Heineken Cup - Italy, France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England - the different stakeholders seemed no nearer to compromise and Tuesday's announcement from PRL seemed to confirm their intention to leave the Heineken Cup.

According to Saracens chairman Nigel Wray, the Premiership and Top 14 sides are keen to establish a new competition which is run by the clubs instead of the Unions but the ERC said on Wednesday, that all the differing stakeholders were keen on finding compromise within the current Union-run system.

However, Wheeler, who sits on the board of the ERC as a representative of Premiership Rugby, has denied these suggestions and also stated the differing stakeholders could decide whether to attend any future meeting regarding the future of the Heineken Cup and were not obliged to.

Wheeler's statement read: "In support of the personal statement made yesterday by René Bouscatel of Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) I would like to say:

"'I too, was surprised by the press statement issued after the meeting on September 11 2013 of the board of ERC of which I am a member. I would make the following points about the content of this statement. No decision was made by the ERC board to reiterate that European club rugby competitions must necessarily be organised by ERC.

"'Secondly, concerning the proposal of some of this board to organise a meeting of the stakeholders, it is the sole right of the individual parties (unions and league organisations) to take a view on any such proposal.'"

Wheeler's sentiments were echoed by the LNR's Bouscatel who released a similar statement.

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