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Heineken Cup talks "have now ended"

stus768

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So, Romania's reward for being reasonably competitive in the Challenge Cup against British and French clubs and beating the hell out of the Italian ones will be relegation to this fantasy "Third Tier" competition that will probably never exist. Who is going to pay for the huge travel costs of this competition? Are clubs from Tier 2 nations expected to be able to afford travel between (for example) Portugal and Georgia (over 5000km), or between Spain and the home of the Russian champions in Krasnoyarsk (over 8000km)? This is ridiculous, it's just an excuse to boot the few non-Tier 1 clubs from the Challenge Cup in order to make more space for the big boys.

Club owners in Romania and Russia who have invested millions of euros per year for a while now in order to build competitive clubs hoping for inclusion in European competitions have been idiots. European club rugby doesn't want their clubs and doesn't care about their efforts.


Surely the competition has to happen as the top two supposedly qualify for the 2nd Tier tournament. Also surely they have to travel atm anyway to away games in the Challenge Cup? I think this 3rd Tier tournament gives more relevant competition to lower teams and, as long as there is the possibility of going up, something to aim for.

One question would be what happens year on year? Do the same teams go down the next year to make room for the winners of this years?
 

Peat

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Believe travel costs are generally covered by the competition/sponsors involved. I hope so in this case, it would be very illogical if they weren't.

I have to say, I am not pleased that Romanian/Spanish teams have been cut from the second tier of European rugby, but it was inevitable from the moment they announced their intent to cut the top two competitions down to 20. I hope that this new organisation backs and funds the third tier strongly, they have to if they're to keep promises about strengthening it, but am not full of optimism.
 

Croket66

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Anyway, if the third competition put in place, Krasny Yar have big chances to take one of the 2 spot for the "Amlin Cup"
Krasny Yar is based in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.
7000 km from London or Paris
8 hours jetlag between Dublin/London and Krasnoyarsk
Daily mean in january : -15°C

However, the team is full pro, with a higher budget than Edinburgh or Zebre.
4 NZ are playing for the team, 3 of them played in Super Rugby previously (the fourth played in ITM Cup)
Many russian international are also playing for KY, including former London Wasps backrower Viktor Gresev (2 times MOTM during 2011 RWC) and former Nothampton Saints winger Vasily Artemyev. And some of the best players from neighboring nations (former Bordeaux lock Karolis Navickas from Lituania or moldovan n8 Oleg Prepelita who was named best player of the russian league last year)

Do you think western teams for the 3 big leagues could go to Krasnoyarsk? I doubt unfortunately
 

Pockets

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Surely the competition has to happen as the top two supposedly qualify for the 2nd Tier tournament. Also surely they have to travel atm anyway to away games in the Challenge Cup? I think this 3rd Tier tournament gives more relevant competition to lower teams and, as long as there is the possibility of going up, something to aim for.

One question would be what happens year on year? Do the same teams go down the next year to make room for the winners of this years?


The competition "has to happen"? Well, to some extent. If it's an 8 team straight knockout, where three teams can't afford to show up and two of the others go out by 50-point margins? The Romanians can afford it sure, but that doesn't mean everyone could (just look at the Spanish pulling out of the Challenge Cup) and the kind of trips you would have to make are expensive; you can't just get a £30 easyjet flight to Tblisi.

The relevant competition thing isn't quite right too - the non-6N countries with pro leagues can offer enough quality to be part of the second tier. Look at how Bucharest are doing in the Amlin Cup at the minute; they're better than the Italians. A third-tier competition would be the pro teams from Romania/Georgia/Russia steamrollering amateurs from ENC 1A/1B, I don't see how that sort of tournament will ever be financially viable without significant external backing.

I don't get your question about the teams, though?
 

Pockets

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Do you think western teams for the 3 big leagues could go to Krasnoyarsk? I doubt unfortunately

I expect they'll insist on all the winter games being played somewhere else. Looking at the fixtures this year they were October, December and January for the groups, I guess they'll play at home during the 2 October weekends, then the remaining home fixtures in December and January will have to be played somewhere warmer.
 

stus768

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The competition "has to happen"? Well, to some extent. If it's an 8 team straight knockout, where three teams can't afford to show up and two of the others go out by 50-point margins? The Romanians can afford it sure, but that doesn't mean everyone could (just look at the Spanish pulling out of the Challenge Cup) and the kind of trips you would have to make are expensive; you can't just get a £30 easyjet flight to Tblisi.

The relevant competition thing isn't quite right too - the non-6N countries with pro leagues can offer enough quality to be part of the second tier. Look at how Bucharest are doing in the Amlin Cup at the minute; they're better than the Italians. A third-tier competition would be the pro teams from Romania/Georgia/Russia steamrollering amateurs from ENC 1A/1B, I don't see how that sort of tournament will ever be financially viable without significant external backing.

I don't get your question about the teams, though?

The way i understand it the top two teams from the 3rd tier go up to the second so the tournament has to happen to make up the correct numbers in the 2nd tier. If they can't afford to travel in this tournament y would they be able to in another?? Better tournament would mean more exposure and more sponsorship tho.

Bucharest have beaten one second tier Italian team. That makes them good now??? Better to play in a tournament where u have a chance of winning something.

I think the answer to my question about teams is that there would be a play off between the winners of the 3rd tier and lowest ranked in the 2nd tier to decide who plays in it next season.
 

dragos03

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Bucharest have beaten one second tier Italian team. That makes them good now??? Better to play in a tournament where u have a chance of winning something.
Bucharest Wolves have beaten French clubs several times in the Amlin Challenge Cup, including Toulon. They have not beaten "one Italian team", but have actually beaten every Italian team in the past few years, usually with bonus point wins both home and away.

This season, Bucharest Wolves have only lost by one point at home against Newcastle Falcons (it took a last minute penalty for the Falcons to escape with a win) and lost against Brive by only 5 points. They are a competitive team, who can stay close or win games vs Tier 1 clubs. It's the Italians who should be relegated to a lower European competition to give them a chance to win something, not us. The Italian clubs have been a disgrace in both the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup (they actually lost two out of two against an amateur Spanish team last season), yet it's the best non-Tier 1 team in European competitions that's being relegated.

Also, Bucharest Wolves is not a real club but a scratch development team where youngsters and new tactics are tested. The actual champion club of Romania would be stronger.

I also agree with Croket66, the Western clubs will never agree to play in Siberia. I strongly doubt they will pay the travel costs for this fictional third tier tournament either (the whole reform is about greed, to get more money for the top clubs, not to give away some to pay for trips from Portugal to Georgia).
 

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An announcement over the future of European rugby is expected in the next couple of days, according to reports on the BBC.

The six unions that play in the Heineken Cup met in Dublin on Tuesday to thrash out the finer details of a new re-jigged tournament ahead of next season, a compromise that looks set to end two years of discussion over the future of the domestic game in Europe.

Reports at the weekend suggest the new tournament will consist of 20 teams with six qualifying from the Top 14 and the Aviva Premiership alongside seven from the RaboDirect PRO12 with the last place going to the winner of a play-off between the seventh-placed side in the French league and the English top flight.

Underneath the top-tier tournament will be a second-tier competition made up of the other teams from the three leagues. There will also be a third-tier for clubs from countries including Georgia, Romania, Russia, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, according to the Telegraph.

The broadcasting side of the new competition also appears to be nearing compromise with BT Sport and Sky Sports set to share the television rights of the new tournament. While the current administrative board in charge of the Heineken Cup, European Rugby Cup Ltd, is based in Dublin, the new tournament will be run by a company in Switzerland.


Read more at http://www.espnscrum.com/heineken-cup-2013-14/rugby/story/219821.html#ZDzhAGsa1jWYTZHQ.99
 

Conal

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well that seems like a bitch slap to smaller nations .....
 

Thingimubob

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Was trying to work out the qualifying teams from the Pro 12 for next year if this deal goes through. With 1 team from each country guaranteed a spot, with 7 in total, that would mean if the table stays as it is now, we'd see Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Ospreys, Glasgow and Scarlets qualifying as the top 6, but would that mean that 7th place Connacht lose out to 12th placed Zebre (assuming they stay in the Pro 12 and don't follow Treviso back to the Italian League)?
 

Amiga500

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but would that mean that 7th place Connacht lose out to 12th placed Zebre (assuming they stay in the Pro 12 and don't follow Treviso back to the Italian League)?

To answer your first question, yes, it would mean Connacht would lose out to the top Italian team.

To correct an error; Treviso are staying in the Pro12.
 

SelimNiai

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http://www.rfu.com/news/2014/march/...e_statement?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=2014

A new deal on European club rugby has been signed. All nine stakeholders* have underlined their commitment to an invigorated competition that will start in the 2014/5 season and meets the requirements of all the parties involved.

It is a truly meritocratic tournament, with appropriate division of finances, underpinned by a long-term agreement and strong governance. It features three cross-border club competitions to be called the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and a new competition called the Qualifying Competition.

RFU Chairman Bill Beaumont CBE said: “The benefits will be seen far and wide, from the clubs to the supporters, sponsors and everyone who has followed the fabulous mix of high class rugby and good natured rivalry – all played out in many spectacular towns and cities in Europe.

“The RFU, and in particular Ian Ritchie, has invested significant time over the last few months in helping to find a solution to a problem that at one stage looked difficult to solve. We are very pleased that the challenges off the pitch are concluded so we can enjoy the joys of the game on it, creating more unforgettable memories for players and fans alike.”

RFU CEO Ian Ritchie added: “This is an excellent outcome for all concerned, most importantly the players and supporters who have made European rugby what it is today. This equitable, long term agreement will provide the platform for rugby union to continue to expand across Europe, increasing interest and involvement in the game at all levels.

“I would like to credit all parties, including BT and Sky Sports, for their efforts in reaching an agreement for the benefit of the competition and the future of the sport.”

Overview
Three new cross-border club competitions will be created, to be called the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Qualifying Competition

An association will be established in Switzerland called 'European Professional Club Rugby' (EPCR). This body will be responsible for organising and managing the Cup Competitions.

European Rugby Champions Cup qualification

Twenty clubs qualify through the finishing positions in their leagues from the preceding season. This includes the top six from Top 14, the top six from Premiership Rugby, the top seven from Pro 12, with at least one club from each country participating in the league.

In the first season, the 20th place will be taken by the winner of a play off between the seventh-highest finishing club from Top 14 and the seventh-highest finishing club from Premiership Rugby. This play off will be played in May 2014, either as one match (in which case, there will be a draw for home advantage) or home and away over two legs.

For subsequent seasons this will be between the seventh-highest finishing club from Top 14, the seventh-highest finishing club from Premiership Rugby and the eighth- and ninth-highest finishing clubs from Pro 12 (or the two highest-finishing which have not already qualified automatically).

From the 2015 season, if the previous season’s European Rugby Challenge Cup winner has not already qualified through its finishing position in its league, it will participate in the play off by taking a place given to its league.

The play off will take place over two dates, firstly seeing the seventh-placed club in theTop 14 versus eighth or ninth from Pro 12 and the seventh club of Premiership Rugby versus eighth or ninth from Pro12. The matches will be played at the home venues of the Top 14 and Premiership Rugby clubs. The second date sees the two winners from the first matches play each other, the venue will be selected by a draw.

Finally, the quarter-final winners will play the semi-finals and the semi-final winners will play the final.

European Rugby Challenge Cup qualification

Twenty clubs qualify including 18 clubs from Top 14, Premiership Rugby and Pro 12. The two other clubs will come from the qualifying competition organised with FIRA-AER (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur-Association Européenne de Rugby)

Format of both competitions

The competition will take place over nine weekends. The Pool phase will be through five Pools of four teams which will play each other home and away (six matches). The five Pool winners and the 3 best runners-up will qualify for the quarter-finals. The quarter-finals will be played at the home venues of the four best Pool winners.

Calendar of both competitions

The Pool phase will be played in three blocks of two weekends and will be completed by the end of January. The final will take place latest the first weekend of May.

EPCR

EPCR will be managed through a Board of Directors representing all parties and an Executive committee in charge of commercial matters and assisting with preparations of Board meetings. The EPCR Board shall have an Independent Chairman.

The EPCR Executive will comprise the Independent Chairman, Director-General, and three voting representatives, one from each of the leagues – namely the Top 14, Premiership Rugby and Pro 12. The Director-General shall manage the day to day operations of EPCR.

Competitions will be under the aegis of the IRB and run according to the IRB Laws Relating to the Game and IRB Regulations. The parties have also agreed to form a working party to discuss and propose the principles of an integration of European competitions within an all-encompassing European rugby framework.

There is a minimum eight-year agreement.

The Qualifying Competition

This will comprise of between eight and 12 teams from Tier 2 countries and Italian clubs as agreed by EPCR & FIRA-AER.

Distribution of funds

This will be equal, i.e a third to Top 14 teams, a third to Premiership Rugby teams and a third to Pro 12 teams, with a guaranteed minimum distribution for the clubs from the Pro12 in years 1-5.

Broadcasters

BT and Sky have reached an agreement in principle concerning arrangements for the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup competitions, both of which would be broadcast jointly by BT Sport and Sky Sports.

The pool matches would be shared equally, both will show two quarter-finals each, one semi-final each and the final would be broadcast by both live. The four-year agreement is subject to contract.

*The nine stakeholders are: Federation Francaise de Rugby (FFR), Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Ligue Nationale De Rugby (LNR), Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL), Regional Rugby Wales Ltd (RRW), The Rugby Football Union (RFU), Scottish Rugby Union PLC (SRU) and The Welsh Rugby Union Ltd (WRU).

The parties take seriously their obligations to ERC and their staff and will ensure an orderly and proper transition to the new association
 

jonny24

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Well that's good news. I was kind of hoping they'd take the opportunity to shift the whole thing to the end of the season instead on continuing all piece meal, but oh well.
 

snoopy snoopy dog dog

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I have my doubts as to whether this is good for the European game as a whole. All teams get more money however if the purchasing power of the French and English clubs increases by more than clubs from other nations, will we see a greater outflowing of talent from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy to the Premiership and Top 14 than ever before? It'll also prove more expensive for fans who now need to splash out for an additional subscription to BT to see all the games - this is already the case in England with the Premiership and Heineken Cup on separate broadcasters. I hope my doubts are misplaced and want the new EPCR to work well for all.

However the Unions want to spin this, it's unmistakably a landslide victory for PRL and LNR.
 

Gronde van der Hogg

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**** that for a laugh. I'll just get mammy to drop the Sky subscription and go to the pub. BT can suck my 16 inch dick.
This isn't good for us at all in the Rabo. We were already on the backfoot in terms of cash, and although the top few will be ok, the lower league sides can't hope to remain competitive. I know the same would have applied in England previously but while most mid to lower club sides in England and France are quite wealthy and financially secure, the Rabo Teams are not. This can only be a bad thing for us boys. I'm especially worried for Connacht.
 

psychic duck

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I have my doubts as to whether this is good for the European game as a whole. All teams get more money however if the purchasing power of the French and English clubs increases by more than clubs from other nations, will we see a greater outflowing of talent from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy to the Premiership and Top 14 than ever before? It'll also prove more expensive for fans who now need to splash out for an additional subscription to BT to see all the games - this is already the case in England with the Premiership and Heineken Cup on separate broadcasters. I hope my doubts are misplaced and want the new EPCR to work well for all.

However the Unions want to spin this, it's unmistakably a landslide victory for PRL and LNR.

The Rabo needs to try and make serious strides on the relatively small TV deal they have now. At least the Welsh regions are in a position now that they cannot be threatened with the WRU's alternative regions anymore.
 

TRF Mr Fish

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So apart from the qualifying, the structure of the competition itself stays exactly the same?
 

munstermuffin

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The Rabo needs to try and make serious strides on the relatively small TV deal they have now. At least the Welsh regions are in a position now that they cannot be threatened with the WRU's alternative regions anymore.

Rabo have Sky next year so money will be there.
It's 4 year deal now though and it'll be 4 years of testing the waters a bit. Will be interesting to see how it works out
 

Peat

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The Rabo needs to try and make serious strides on the relatively small TV deal they have now. At least the Welsh regions are in a position now that they cannot be threatened with the WRU's alternative regions anymore.

Yup. Sky involvement will probably be a good thing. I don't know when Pro 12 TV rights next go up, but there is potential for progress to be made there, particularly with the Irish.

This may not be the greatest deal ever but it's better than the presumed alternative of nothing.
 

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