Clubs have 'full confidence' in McCafferty
September 14, 2012
Reports suggest Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty may not have the full suport of England's leading clubs © Getty Images
Premiership Rugby has vehemently denied reports that chief executive Mark McCafferty does not have the full support of England's leading clubs.
McCafferty announced a bumper broadcast deal with BT earlier this week that is set to provide a £152m windfall for Premiership clubs but the terms of the 'ground-breaking' partnership - including exclusive rights for Aviva Premiership matches for four seasons from 2013-14 onwards and more controversially, any games played in Europe by Premiership clubs for three years starting from the 2014-15 campaign - have been widely questioned.
The timing of the announcement, just days ahead of a scheduled meeting of European rugby's stakeholders where talks were due to start about the future of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup beyond the current agreement that expires at the end of the 2013-14 season, and Premiership Rugby's perceived desire to dictate that debate have also attracted criticism.
In addition, The Times newspaper reported today that, "it is understood that a clear majority of the 12 clubs want rid of their chief executive" amid fears that they are alienating themselves from the rest of Europe with such a bold stance.
But Premiership Rugby chairman Quentin Smith was quick to refute those claims with a statement that insisted the deal with BT had the unanimous support of all the members of the umbrella body for English rugby's leading teams.
"On Tuesday evening, the Premiership Rugby shareholders approved unanimously the £152m agreement with BT which is a strong and exciting deal for domestic, European and Sevens rugby," he said. "They have fully endorsed Premiership Rugby in realising this step change for the development of the sport and it partners.
"The clubs have full confidence in chief executive Mark McCafferty and support him in implementing the game-changing broadcast deal. The shareholders have also unanimously supported proposals for the European negotiations due to start next week."
Earlier this year, Premiership Rugby and their French counterparts served notice to quit the current European competition format to trigger a re-negotiation period. Their main concern about the current set-up is understood to centre on the qualification process that they insist favours RaboDirect PRO12 clubs with talks between all parties set to take place in Dublin on Tuesday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures