New global tournament in the works
English and French clubs plan to form a new competition that will be "open to teams from other countries" from next season.
Premiership Rugby on Tuesday said discussions over the restructuring and revenue distribution of European competitions “have now ended” and that English and French clubs plan to break away from the European Cup at the end of the season.
“The 2013/14 Premiership Rugby season kicked off this weekend with our clubs having no clear view of new European competitions from next season onwards,” a statement from Premiership Rugby read.
“The current European Rugby Cup (ERC) competitions terminate at the end of this season after notice was served by the English and French clubs in June 2012.
“Despite numerous meetings between the stakeholders over the last year, the last of which was in May, discussions have been unsuccessful and the clubs can only conclude that negotiations on any new European agreement have now ended.
“The English and French clubs have proposed the formation of two new, stronger competitions of 20 teams each, based on the principles of qualification on merit from each league, the inclusion of teams from all six existing countries and the expansion into new markets. These proposals could form the basis of future competitions.
“However, given the importance and urgency of the current position, and the reconfirmation that the French clubs will not participate in any competition unless it includes the English clubs, the clubs have now asked Premiership Rugby to take immediate action to put in place a competition for 2014/15 to include the French and English clubs but which will also be open to teams from other countries.”
Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts responded to the news on Twitter, saying: “If this is the end of the H.Cup then it's a very sad day…Best club tournament in our game…some incredible memories for fans and players.”