Heineken Cup organisers leave 'door open' to clubs
September 30, 2013
ERC big guns Derek McGrath and Jean-Pierre Lux during a press briefing on the future of the Heineken Cup in Cardiff © PA Photos
The "door is still open" for Europe's top clubs to help find a solution to the row over the Heineken Cup's future according to bosses of European Rugby Cup (ERC), which has run the tournament since it began in 1995.
"The future is best served by doing what we have all been doing for 18 years," said ERC chief Derek McGrath at a press conference in Cardiff. "ERC wishes to encourage everybody back to the table. There is a lot of activity to try to find solutions. We have stated many times that we absolutely believe that we will only find agreement when we have the full engagement of all the parties around the table. We haven't had that yet.
"We haven't had engagement and we haven't had negotiation, which is critical to find progress."
English and French clubs have made clear they intended to quit at the end of the season and have said they will not participate in talks planned next month.
Despite that, McGrath said he was hopeful that the clubs could still be brought back into the fold. "All parties bear a responsibility to find those solutions. Walking away is not respecting the obligations to those, in particular, who are not sitting at the table - the fans, the players, the sponsors - who have a significant interest in the future of the competitions.
"I sincerely believe it is in everyone's best interests to come to the meeting."
© 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.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column