'We know where we're going and it is not with ERC'
September 15, 2013
Premiership Rugby chief Mark McCafferty has vowed to press on with plans for a new European tournament © Getty Images
Premiership Rugby chief Mark McCafferty has given his clearest indication that the English clubs intend to push on with their plans for a new European tournament by declaring his organisation want nothing more to do with the organisers of the Heineken Cup.
This season's Heineken Cup is set to be the last unless stakeholders can reach an agreement on the future structure of the competition and the distribution of revenue. Frustrated at the lack of progress since serving notice to leave the competition last year, the English and French clubs tabled plans for an Anglo-French tournament that they insist would also be open to their European partners.
European Rugby Cup Ltd, the organisers of both the Heineken Cup and the second tier Amlin Challenge Cup, responded by insisting that talks were still ongoing while it has also been suggested that the new tournament would not get the required sign-off from the respective unions who currently govern the both competitions.
However, McCafferty is adamant that Premiership Rugby are no longer interested in sitting around a table in order to seek a suitable compromise and are determined to advance plans for their own tournament.
"The Six Nations is an international tournament that is run by unions, and rightly so," McCafferty told The Observer. "The Heineken Cup is a club tournament and it should be run by clubs. That is not accepted by ERC and it is one reason why we have, with the French clubs, started to organise a new competition from next season.
"If anyone from the other four countries involved in the European cups wants to join us, they will be welcome, but we will have nothing more to do with ERC. If there are discussions to be held, and so much time has been wasted there is very little left, they will have to be with those who have the power to make decisions.
"Our priority is getting the new tournament up and running so that our clubs know what they are preparing for. It is clear that, within ERC, positions are poles apart. There will not be a resolution through ERC. That was clear 12 months ago."
McCafferty added: "We have been accused of selfishness and of endangering the health of the game in Europe. We are not being greedy because, under our proposals, every country would receive more money. Are the unions being selfish by preventing their teams from joining us? What the last week has shown is that the English and French clubs are united and our resolve will not be shaken. We know where we are going and it is not with ERC."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year