Heineken Cup
Premiership Rugby considers euro alternatives
ESPN Staff
April 4, 2013
Prop Joe Marler goes into contact, Biarittz v Harlequins, Heineken Cup, Parc des Sports Aguiléra, France, January 18, 2013
Harlequins will look to further their Heineken Cup ambitions this weekend against Munster © Getty Images

Premiership Rugby (PRL) is reportedly looking at three alternative plans to the Heineken Cup if talks regarding the future of the premier European competition fail to reach a compromise.

The body in charge of the Aviva Premiership and the equivalent organisation in the Top 14 served their notice to leave the current structure of the Heineken Cup around nine months ago. Since then the relevant constituent nations - England, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy - have met to try and thrash out the future of the competition, but to no avail.

PRL would like to see a reduction to a 20-team competition that would also incorporate a change to the qualification system that it insists favours the RaboDirect PRO12 clubs. However, its proposals have been rejected by representatives from the Welsh, Irish, Scottish and Italian sides and European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC), the organisers of both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup, with the deadlock and an additional TV rights row threatening the future of the competition.

According to reports in the Telegraph, PRL is now considering how to make up the shortfall of funding if it does not compete in a new European competition come 2015. The newspaper claims that one proposed option is to play in a new world championship, held every two years, which would see domestic champions from both the north and southern hemispheres lining up against each other.

Another proposal under consideration, according to the newspaper, is to expand the Premiership from 12 to 14 teams alongside a fresh Anglo-Welsh competition. And another option would see the release of players for a fourth England Test game in the autumn on an annual basis rather than every two years which is currently the case.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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