The ongoing European drama has taken a dramatic turn today with the news that English and French clubs are set to break off and form their own competition starting next season. This is in the wake of continued failed negotiations with the stakeholders of the various parties involved.
The full press release from Premiership Rugby reads:
The 2013/14 Aviva Premiership Rugby season kicked off this weekend with our clubs having no clear view of new European competitions from next season onwards.
The current European Rugby Cup (ERC) competitions terminate at the end of this season after notice was served by the English and French clubs in June 2012.
Despite numerous meetings between the stakeholders over the last year, the last of which was in May, discussions have been unsuccessful and the clubs can only conclude that negotiations on any new European agreement have now ended.
The English and French clubs have proposed the formation of two new, stronger competitions of 20 teams each, based on the principles of qualification on merit from each league, the inclusion of teams from all six existing countries and the expansion into new markets. These proposals could form the basis of future competitions.
However, given the importance and urgency of the current position, and the reconfirmation that the French clubs will not participate in any competition unless it includes the English clubs, the clubs have now asked Premiership Rugby to take immediate action to put in place a competition for 2014/15 to include the French and English clubs but which will also be open to teams from other countries.
It would seem that there is still scope for the Celtic nations to be involved, but only on the English/French terms.
What do you make of this latest development?