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Heineken Cup
Scottish chief hits out at Prem Rugby
ESPN Staff
October 30, 2012
Mark Dodson, the newly appointed Scottish Rugby Union's chief executive, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, September 2
Mark Dodson has launched a scathing attack on the English clubs © Getty Images
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Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson has lashed out at the English clubs' motives with the talks regarding the future of the Heineken Cup currently locked in stalemate.

The six Unions - England, Scotland, France, Italy, Wales and Ireland - will meet in Dublin today to continue thrashing out the future of the competition. English and French clubs are keen for the format of the Heineken Cup to change as they deem the current qualification process to be weighted in favour of the RaboDirect PRO12 sides.

But Dodson has denied that the PRO12 clubs are close to agreeing a compromise with Premiership Rugby and Ligue Nationale de Rugby - the body in charge of the Top 14 - and has accused PRL of trying to engineer a greater foothold in European rugby circles.

"We're talking about a much wider issue here: the fight for control of professional rugby in the northern hemisphere," Dodson told the Telegraph. "It has to be seen in that context.

"There is a lot of noise being made in the papers in England, and a lot of selective leakage around the subject, but I can assure you that the Celtic and Italian nations are working incredibly hard to make sure that the PRL and LNR [the French Ligue Nationale de Rugby] do not just steamroller their proposals through."

And Dodman has also hit back at PRL's misgivings regarding the current structure of the Heineken Cup which they deem to hand the PRO12 an advantage. Dodson said: "The English are always blaming something. It's the fact that there is no promotion/relegation in the Rabo, or the Irish and French clubs have more money than they have. It's another excuse and another excuse. But if they'd won four of the last seven European Cups you wouldn't hear any of this.

"They have to come to terms with the route they have chosen for their leagues. Nobody is forcing them to have promotion and relegation. They choose to have it. As far as we're concerned we run our leagues and they run their leagues. We're not asking them to change anything about their league.

"The Heineken Cup was put together as a Europe-wide tournament and to get that you have to have all flavours. Part of the attraction of the Heineken Cup is that you do go to Italy and to Scotland. Nobody wants to see an Anglo-French tournament, but that's what they will be left with if they continue with this tactic."

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