McCafferty backing club world cup
November 12, 2011
Mark McCafferty would like to see sides from the two hemispheres compete on a regular basis © Getty Images
Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has expressed his interest in the creation of a club world championship.
As things currently stand, Europe's elite compete in the Heineken Cup, while Super Rugby brings together franchises from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. McCafferty, though, would like to see the establishment of a competition that would see the top clubs in the northern hemisphere lock horns with the southern hemisphere's finest.
"We have ambitious clubs and we'll look to see if we can create these things," he told The Guardian. "Europe has got to continue to be ambitious and push the boundaries. Sometimes we get frustrated about the pace of progress. It has come a long way in a few years but I think it can go even further.
"One of the advantages of a recession is that people realise you have to do things differently to generate interest. We're inching towards a scenario where there might be more frequent competitive matches between northern and southern hemisphere clubs, not just friendlies."
McCafferty also launched a thinly-veiled attack on recently re-elected ERC chairman Jean Pierre Lux, as well as calling for the creation of a third European competition for sides from up-and-coming rugby nations.
"We feel there needs to be a stronger form of leadership and governance within ERC," he said. "We've got to try and embrace the emerging countries: Russia, Spain, Romania, Georgia etc. The Heineken Cup shouldn't just be limited to six countries."
Meanwhile, The Guardian also claims that some sides are considering pulling out of Europe's premier club rugby competition.
"From an English and French clubs' point of view the Heineken Cup is a growing competition but it is essentially controlled by the unions and played by the clubs," a prominent club figure told the newspaper. "There are some English and French clubs who do not regard that as an ideal situation.
"There is also a growing weariness in South Africa with Sanzar [South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby]. They feel they're at a playing disadvantage by constantly having to travel and, despite having more commercial pulling power, do not get a proportionally bigger share of the revenue. They feel South Africa is subsidising Australia and New Zealand, which are relatively small markets."
However, Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson does not believe that there is anything to be gained for English and French sides in withdrawing from the Heineken Cup.
"I'm on ERC's commercial and marketing committee and I know the English clubs well. I'd say the monies generated by the TV contracts are quite big and competitive," he said.
"Everyone says 'You can get more money' until they actually have to go and get it. Is there a whole pot load of money out there that we're missing? I doubt it.
"The thing about running away is that you need people to play against. I think the Heineken Cup is elite enough at the moment. Winning it gives you serious credibility and it's easier to sell your wares. You can't buy what it does for you."
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