Young - Losing Heineken Cup would be a blow
September 13, 2012
Wasps have enjoyed life in the Heineken Cup in the past ©
Wasps boss Dai Young admits that the loss of the Heineken Cup would be a "big blow" but claims that the qualification criteria require scrutiny.
The six Unions - England, Italy, France, Wales, Ireland and Scotland - will meet in Dublin next week to thrash out the future of the tournament. Premiership Rugby has previously served their notice to the ERC amid calls for the qualification process to be changed with the balance perceived to be tipped in the favour of the Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian clubs.
The current format of the Heineken Cup comes to an end at the culmination of the 2013-14 season and Premiership Rugby's announcement on Wednesday that they had sold their television rights to BT for any involvement their sides have in a future European competition from 2014-15, suggests that they are planning for life after the current tournament. The ERC responded by announcing a new four-year deal with Sky Sports so it seems that the pair are at loggerheads regarding the future format of the tournament both financially and structurally.
BT Vision CEO Marc Watson said on Thursday that he was relishing a "dazzling" new tournament and while Young admits that changes need to be made to the current structure, he is keen to emphasise the worth of a truly European tournament.
"The Heineken Cup is a competition that every player wants to be successful in, and it would be a big blow if it isn't there," Young said. "I am sure ultimately it will be sorted out because over the years we've always had these spats, but things always get sorted out and done for the better.
"This isn't about money. It's about having a true best of the best competition. The automatic qualification that certain countries have doesn't exist in the Aviva Premiership.
"It's harder to qualify for the Heineken Cup from the Premiership than the Celtic league (RaboDirect PRO12). It doesn't seem fair. The Heineken Cup shouldn't be there to develop, it should be about the best against the best. You can understand why English and French clubs object to automatic qualification.
"You can't really call the Heineken Cup the best of the best if the best teams in Europe are not necessarily in there."
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