Thursday, 28 November 2013

Heineken Cup saga continues

The dispute over the future of European club rugby is turning into a soap opera. Initially, the French and English clubs withdrew from the tournament. Parties involed have changed their minds a number of times during negotiations but the split seemed inevitable. The Welsh, Scottish,  Irish and Italian clubs issued a statement declaring that they want to remain on ERC side. The English and French clubs decided to create a new tournament and call it the Rugby Champions Cup. English and French agreement intended to attract other Heineken Cup participants to join them.

Now, the situation has changed completely. The French Federation has offered a high financial bonus to Top 14 clubs if they agree to remain in the Heineken Cup. The incentive was so serious that it convinced the French to change sides and leave their English allies. The English clubs which started the rebellion and were sure of Top 14's backing now have beenleft out in the cloud. The official statement is not yet known but it seems highly unlikely that the  English will return to the old format.... At least this is what the experts say but it's quite difficult to be sure of anything in this story. Are we going to see European Cup without English Clubs as it happened back in 1998/1999?
We shall soon find out.