Italians issued European accord deadline
April 6, 2014
Zebre played in this season's Heineken Cup - but what tournament will they be in next term? © Getty Images
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
Communication error please reload the page.
Louis van Gaal welcomes Ander Herrera back into the Manchester United midfield for Monday's trip to West Brom while the Dutchman has also opted to start Adnan Januzaj at The Hawthorns
Phil Taylor will begin the defence of his Masters title against Wes Newton, while world champion Michael van Gerwen faces compatriot Raymond van Barneveld in the opening round of the November tournament
Pablo Zabaleta has provided the case for the Manchester City defence, responding to claims by CSKA Moscow winger Ahmed Musa that the Premier League champions are "very weak" at the back
UEFA has dropped its disciplinary proceedings against Arsenal in regards to their Champions League meeting with Galatasaray earlier this month
Ex-F1 team principals Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali are among the members of a new FIA Accident Panel, which will carry out a full review of Jules Bianchi's crash at the Japanese Grand Prix
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Leicestershire finished bottom of the County Championship in 2014, and didn't win a match for the second year running. Has any team been this bad before?
How the instant internet access to the own goals of Richard Dunne and missed sitters of Mario Balotelli killed a generation of Own Goals and Gaffes stars
After his luckless own-goal at Loftus Road on Sunday, Queens Park Rangers defender Richard Dunne has now scored more Premier League goals for Liverpool than summer signing Mario Balotelli
It really is difficult to think of someone other than Mario Balotelli with such a huge gap between their brilliant ability and their questionable application but patience is required, writes Miguel Delaney
Harry Redknapp launched an astonishing rant on Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt following his side's 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, claiming he cannot "protect people who are about three stone overweight"
A Steven Caulker own goal in the 94th minute earned Liverpool all three points in an incredible final few minutes at Queens Park Rangers and heaped the pressure on Harry Redknapp
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti warned his players not to get carried away after Saturday's 5-0 La Liga win at Levante, as they travel to Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday before next Saturday's clasico at home to Barcelona
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea would be champions elect in any division other than the Premier League following their scintillating, unbeaten start to the season - but does not know when Diego Costa will be back in action
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal insists no players can expect to walk straight back into his side
How good is Gennady Golovkin? ESPN's Nick Parkinson talks to Matthew Macklin about the boxer he ranks as the most dominant middleweight since Bernard Hopkins
When David Moyes gave Adnan Januzaj his debut 12 months ago he was repaid with two goals and one of the brightest starts a United player has had in years
The obituaries for Andrea de Cesaris say he entered 214 Grands Prix but never won one - is this a record?
In an extract from Marti Perarnau's book Pep Confidential, we go inside the huddle ahead of Bayern Munich's penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in the 2013 European Super Cup final
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Raheem Sterling gets a bit tired, Roy Keane does not like golf, Jose Mourinho does not understand what burnout is and Cesc Fabregas is not invincible ...