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The future of European rugby
Italians issued European accord deadline
ESPN Staff
April 6, 2014
Zebre played in this season's Heineken Cup - but what tournament will they be in next term? © Getty Images
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The Italian Federation has been given until Thursday to sign the new European rugby accord, according to reports in The Rugby Paper.

After a two-year dispute over the future of European rugby, reports over the past couple of weeks suggested a compromise is near. At present, the English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish unions have agreed to the re-jigged structure of European rugby which will see the top-tier competition reduced from 24 teams to 20 and a change to the qualification process.

Reports say the French are now onboard but the Italians are holding up the process. Next year's final of the new-look competition is set to be in Rome but a source has told The Rugby Paper that patience is wearing thin over the hold-up to getting the new accord signed.

"They either agree to the new competitions by Thursday or they are out. It's as simple as that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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