LNR chief will not return to euro negotiations
September 24, 2013
Paul Goze is standing firm over the future of the Heineken Cup © Getty Images
The organisation in charge of France's Top 14 is showing no signs of compromise over the future of the Heineken Cup with its president Paul Goze reiterating his support for the breakaway 'Rugby Champions Cup'.
Premiership Rugby, the umbrella body representing the leading English clubs, and its French counterparts Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) confirmed earlier this month that they plan to form a new cross-border competition for the 2014-15 season having failed to negotiate changes to the structure of the Heineken Cup and also the qualification criteria and the distribution of revenue.
ERC, the organiser of both the Heineken Cup and the second tier Amlin Challenge Cup, has scheduled a fresh round of negotiations for October 23 and have appointed an independent mediator in a bid to find a suitable compromise but the English and French clubs have no interest in dealing with the union-dominated ERC and are determined to push on with their own plans for what will be called the Rugby Champions Cup.
Any new tournament will require the approval of the respective unions and while PRL remains confident of attracting the support of the Rugby Football Union, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) has signalled its intent to block a non-ERC endorsed competition.
But Goze is standing firm and is adamant his organisation will not return to the negotiating table. Goze told AFP: "I totally exclude returning to negotiations, they have failed for fifteen months, they will not come to a resolution in a fortnight. There are contracts that have been signed by various parties that mean there are no opportunities (for reconciliation).
"Creating a new competition will help us out of the trap which we have been in for several months. It is not just a desire to carry out a coup."
And despite ERC drafting in an external mediator to help with the negotiations, Canadian Graham Mew, Goze is adamant any chance of compromise has now passed.
"The mediator can't change the fact that contracts are signed," added Goze. "He may be able to mediate on the organisation of the competition, but with regards to the fundamental problem of this competition, we have passed the stage of negotiation. We have reached a dead end and we must find a way out. If we do not take the initiative, he will not. "
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