Tigers back breakaway euro tournament
September 12, 2013
The Tigers are England's most successful club side © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom claims the proposed breakaway European tournament will be a "more attractive competition" than the Heineken Cup.
Premiership Rugby declared on Tuesday that it and its French counterparts the Ligue National de Rugby (LNR) have agreed to form a new European competition for the 2014-15 season after months of discussions over the future of the Heineken Cup. The two organisations served their notices to European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC) - the body in charge of the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups - in June 2012 saying their clubs would pull out of the competitions if certain aspects of the tournaments were not changed.
Both have misgivings over the qualification process for the Heineken Cup and the distribution of votes and revenue. In their view, all three are weighted in favour of the RaboDirect PRO12 sides.
Tuesday's announcement of a breakaway tournament seemed to end the months of negotiations over the future of the Heineken Cup but ERC stated on Wednesday it was still hopeful of compromise. But there has been no sign of the English or French clubs conceding any ground with LNR president Paul Goze saying there is "no alternative" for clubs in the Premiership and Top 14 other than starting a new competition.
Tigers chairman Tom has commented on the developments and has thrown his support behind the new Anglo-French proposition. He told the Press Association: "We wanted something that we felt was more equitable. The money has never been shared out particularly fairly.
"You have the English and French clubs slogging it out in terms of qualifying for the Heineken Cup, so this is really trying to make it more equitable. It is not the English and French clubs being greedy. The game has evolved, and there are a whole host of ideas that have been bounced around. We have been involved in chats about a world club championship in Monaco, for instance, and another one out in the Emirates.
"It (Heineken Cup) has been a great competition, but we think our proposals would make it a much more attractive competition."
And Tom reiterated the PRL/LNR stance that any Celtic or Italian teams would be welcome to join the proposed new venture. He added: "We would like them (Celtic countries and Italy) to join us in the European Cup mark two. We would be very, very happy for them to join us.
"I would hope the other nations would have some realism and want to join us in a competition that would be much more attractive and be a lot better financially. This is not the English and French trying to run off with the gold. It's genuine."
Any new tournament would need RFU and French Rugby Federation approval as the respective governing bodies and representatives from the PRL met the RFU on Wednesday to outline their proposals for a new tournament.
"The RFU representatives - Bill Beaumont, Ian Ritchie and others - would have left that meeting with a complete understanding of where we were," Tom said. "And I would hope that from that they would support us because I do think this is in the best interests of English rugby. We have made our case to our own union very strongly."
© 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.
Francois Pienaar and Jean de Villiers, Springboks captains past and present, reflect on the life and times of Nelson Mandela as South Africa pays tribute to Madiba at a memorial service
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini inexplicably appeared to miscalculate the mathematical conundrum that would have given his side top spot in their Champions League group
Real Madrid put the seal on a fine Champions League group-stage campaign as they won 2-0 at FC Copenhagen on Tuesday - even if Cristiano Ronaldo did miss a penalty in the process
Tuesday night's winner-takes-all Champions League encounter between Galatasaray and Juventus was abandoned after only 33 minutes with the game goalless due to a severe hailstorm in Istanbul
Manchester United ensured they would be heading into the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners after they defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 at Old Trafford