IRFU continues euro talks with RFU
September 28, 2013
Leinster have been a great advert for Heineken Cup rugby © Getty Images
Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Philip Browne has said discussions regarding the future of the Heineken Cup are ongoing and that his organisation is talking directly with the Rugby Football Union in an attempt to find some compromise.
The four Unions that make up the RaboDirect PRO12 - Italy, Scotland, Ireland and Wales - issued joint statements on Thursday saying they will not join the proposed Rugby Champions Cup unless it receives International Rugby Board ratification.
The Champions Cup has been created by Premiership Rugby and Ligue Nationale de Rugby - the bodies in charge of the Aviva Premiership and the Top 14 respectively - and will be club-run rather than the current format of the Heineken Cup which is organised by the Unions.
LNR and PRL have both held misgivings over certain aspects of the premier European tournament and seem adamant that they will not return to the table to discuss the future of the Heineken Cup.
While European Rugby Cup Ltd, who run the Heineken Cup, has called a meeting of the relevant stakeholders who currently run out in the tournament, PRL and LNR both say they will not attend the get together in Dublin on October 23.
PRL and LNR are both hopeful the teams from the PRO12 will join the breakaway Champions Cup with London Irish chief Andy Martin last week suggesting they are keen to implement two tournaments consisting of 20 teams - the 38 teams from the PRO12, Top 14 and Premiership and two teams from "new markets".
Browne has previously spoken out against the LNR and PRL labelling their tactics "deplorable" as they attempt to force change and he is still hopeful of finding some common ground regarding the future of the Heineken Cup.
And he has suggested that despite LNR and PRL's stance, the RFU are acting as a go-between as talks continue behind the scenes.
"They talk to their unions and we're talking to their unions as well and we would hope common sense will prevail, and that people understand that if what you want is a vibrant competition in Europe, formatted in a way that suits everyone and a fair distribution, I think all of that can be delivered," Browne told the Irish Times. "I think what cannot be delivered is effectively a governing structure which blocks units out."
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