Lapasset comes out fighting for ERC
September 24, 2013
Bernard Lapasset has declared his support for the ERC © Getty Images
International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset has come out in support of European Rugby Cup Ltd saying any future European tournament must be Union-run.
Premiership Rugby, the umbrella body representing the leading English clubs, and its French counterparts, the 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 Premiership Rugby remain confident of attracting the support of the Rugby Football Union, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) have signalled their intent to block an non-ERC endorsed competition.
ERC chairman Jean-Pierre Lux slammed the breakaway competition and the stakeholders for showing a lack of respect and the organisation seemingly has the backing of the IRB who helped the organisation appoint an independent mediator last Friday to sort the mess.
Lapasset told AFP the game's governing body "will ensure we have a European competition which fulfils its name, which is not confiscated by some nations but has a real international interest.
"The IRB will defend this principle: not a privatisation of a competition in the interest of some people," he said, adding that "unions maintain pre-eminence over the leagues... the unions must remain masters of the game."
© 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.
Communication error please reload the page.
Carl Frampton says he is "thrilled" that the first defence of his IBF world super-bantamweight will be screened on mainstream television
Technical chief James Allison says the new front wing regulations have not posed a huge problem for Ferrari and expects gains on both the aerodynamic and engine side this season
Andy Murray says he is more wary of Tomas Berdych than he would have been of Rafael Nadal as the British No.1 prepares for his fifth Australian Open in six years
Manchester United have made the decision to only pursue prime targets in this transfer window, leaving open the distinct possibility that they will not do any more business in January
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas admits he is hoping to break former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry's record for assists in the Premier League