The future of the Rugby Champions Cup appears to be in serious doubt after the Ligue Nationale de Rugby sided with the FFR on Thursday.
France’s Top 14 clubs (represented by the LNR) will now take part in the newly-formatted Heineken Cup next season, rather than in the breakaway RCC competition announced by Premiership Rugby representing the English clubs earlier this year, according to reports.
The decision was made following a vote by the representatives of the 14 clubs with the FFR at a meeting outside Paris, with Racing Métro owner Jacky Lorenzetti reportedly storming out following the outcome according to RugbyRama.
Despite the French clubs reported interest in bringing the English clubs back into the ERC with them, such are the terms of the Premiership clubs’ contract with BT Sport that they will be unable to return to the Heineken Cup.
This is due to the competition being broadcast by Sky Sports, throwing doubt over future English participation in European rugby next season.
This latest development will see teams from France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales competing in 2014/2015 in the newly-formatted Heineken Cup announced this month.
Further reports in France state the Top 14 clubs have until February to persuade the English clubs to return to the ERC.
If they fail then the English clubs will be excluded from Europe. as they were in 1999 when they boycotted the competition.
- Planet Rugby