Heidelberger RK Barred from the 2018/19 Challenge Cup

Discussion in 'European Champions & Challenge Cup' started by Thingimubob, May 31, 2018.

  1. Thingimubob

    Thingimubob Senior Member

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    http://www.epcrugby.com/europeanrugbychallengecup/news/37721.php

    Heidelberger RK have been denied entry to the Challenge Cup by EPCR due to the fact Dr Hans-Peter Wild also owns Stade Francais.

    From the EPCR: [He] "would be in a position to influence or to control the management or performance of two clubs in the same competition, EPCR decided that the German club could not participate. A replacement club will be announced shortly."

    Very strange decision for me and one that will only hold back the growth of German club rugby.

    Seems like an odd double standard considering that many other clubs in the competition are more or less directly managed / owned / funded by their respective national unions?

    Also realistically how on earth would it affect the competition? Even if they were drawn in the same group, neither are going to throw the game for the other?!

    Similar issue popped up in football at the start of the 17/18 season with Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig, and I think UEFA ended up ruling that it was fine for both to compete as realistically there wasn't really any danger of match fixing or anything - not that it mattered in the end as Salzburg failed to qualify!

    Can't see why EPCR went the other way at all...
     
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  3. RedruthRFC

    RedruthRFC Senior Member

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    After the almost universal condemnation of the selection of a Romanian referee for the Belgium vs Spain match (and of ignoring the complaint raised), it seems like a no-brainer to me to make a decision to be seen to be whiter than white. A scenario with both sides in the same pool, facing each other in the final match with one side needing a certain points difference would almost inevitably throw up accusations of wrong doing.

    I take your point about sides with significant stakes held by a union though. I would imagine that there is a minimum share holding needed before the relevant regulations kick in as PRL's stance of Altrad buying into Gloucester. As an aside, it's funny how Gloucester has gone in the direction that he intended taking the club anyway.
     
  4. Tigs Man

    Tigs Man Senior Member

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    But why not Stade?
     
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  5. Thingimubob

    Thingimubob Senior Member

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    True, that's pretty much the only situation where it could come into dodgy territory, but all you'd need to do is bar them from being in the same group and then the issue is no more!

    Not that hard to do - I watched the UEFA Nations League draw earlier this year and they had all sorts of stuff put in place to stop certain teams being in the same group because of political situations (Russia/Ukraine for example_ or too many teams from very cold climates etc.


    A lot of people on Twitter pointing that out too... Funny thing is if the 17/18 season is anything to go by, I doubt the Challenge Cup will be all that much of a priority next season, especially after their Top 14 struggles.
     
  6. RedruthRFC

    RedruthRFC Senior Member

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    I'm not a fan. Cowtowing to the needs of individual teams creates a dangerous precedent. I don't mean to hop on the football bashing bandwagon, but you're on didgy ground holding up football administrators as an example of how to organise a competition or to ensure fair play / credibility. The competition you're describing sounds more like a Barry Hearn style glorified exhibition than a credible competition.

    I'd have thought that it's reasonable to give priority to the higher tier team or to leave it up to the owner in question to resolve the conflict of interests by picking his favourite.
     
  7. themole25

    themole25 Senior Member

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    we already do that... teams from the same league can't be in the same group until the last round of draws in the champions cup. They also don't allow two teams from the same country, which you could say is attempting to prevent conflicts of interest. A situation where two irish teams could collude so they could both advance while playing each other in the last game is impossible.
     
  8. Leinster Fan

    Leinster Fan Senior Member

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    Seems unnecessary especially given that for example the IRFU own three teams in the main competition. There ways around it anyway. You could just not let them be drawn in the same group anyway. Wouldake more sense to kick out Stade anyway because they don't even want to be in it and licking them out isn't going to do untold damage to an emerging rugby country.
     
  9. Car

    Car Senior Member

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    He actually does not own the HRK nor is he a shareholder. That really is very questionable.
     
  10. Brigantine

    Brigantine Senior Member

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    But good for the German Rugby Union. It means they can offer pro contracts to top german players and then release them for national duty when required.

    I can't imagine EPCR would do this without someone from DRV whispering in their ear.

    Since about February, with talks between DRV and HRK breaking down, some people* have been suggesting that if HRK wins the CS, they were going to be blocked one way or another from playing in the Challenge Cup.

    Politically speaking, they get top marks for using Stade Francais to make everything look like Wild's fault, while keeping DRV's name away from everything.

    The best possible outcome now is if Stade Francais and the replacement german team get drawn into the same pool. So DRV and Wild can fight it out in a more sporting manner!

    The worst outcome is if they don't manage to pull another german team together, so they give up and just invite Timisoara back.
    Trade you a RWC spot for a Challenge Cup spot?

    *- IIRC, I saw it in a Total Rugby DE post, and on their forum. Can't find it now though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
  11. Thingimubob

    Thingimubob Senior Member

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    Thats true tbf, and I have wondered if part of the decision was down to the powers that be wanting to have DRV's back against Wild.

    Is it certain that a German team would replace HRK? I was expecting them to just chuck in in one of Timosora or Krasny Yar to replace them.

    Also I'm gonna admit, a big part of my disappointment is that Heidelberg is a bloody lovely city that I want to go back to soon, and going there for an boozy rugby away trip is the dream - especially if they drew a Welsh side :D

    Tbf the Nations League stuff isn't cowtowing in the slightest - you don't really want nations that are pretty much actively at war with one another in the same group do you? It only applied to Russia/Ukraine and Armenia/Azerbaijan due to recent/ongoing armed conflicts. They do the same in the Euros/World Cup Qualifying by making sure that, for example, Serbia are kept apart from Kosovo etc.

    As for the colder climate stuff, makes sense logistically as the matches will be played during a time where there's a risk of games being called off due to snowy/icy conditions - so they decided to have no more than 2 of Norway, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania in the same group.
     
  12. Leesajohnson

    Leesajohnson Junior Member

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    Enjoy rugby match. This challenge will create excitement for game lovers. Thank you.
     
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