ERC boss accuses English and French of ‘guerilla’ tactics

ERC president Jean-Pierre Lux has slammed the ‘guerilla’ tactics used by the English and French clubs in the ongoing row over the future of the Heineken Cup.

The Frenchman said the two unions had been fiercely uncompromising in their demands, while at the same time rejecting any notion that they could form a breakaway tournament. His comments come in response to PRL and LNR’s proposals to form a separate tournament starting next season if their demands are not met, into which they have extended an invitation to other clubs.

Newly emboldened by TV money from the BT Sport deal, the proposal is a dangerous one to the ERC who risk being cut out of the process altogether. Their president, however, insists the demands of the English and French clubs are unrealistic and unfair.

“There were meetings up to the beginning of June. Since then everyone has been waiting for someone else to make the first move to kick-start the negotiations,” Lux told AFP.

“We received letters from the English and French leagues a few weeks ago that had a decidedly guerilla spirit to them. When I hear the English and French leagues denouncing Celtic intransigence, we could also reply that those two leagues don’t want to change their positions. We need to find a compromise to advance.”

Lux is adamant that there will be no Anglo-French competition next year.

“It’s not possible,” he announced. “I went to a meeting last week where the chief executive of the English (Rugby) Union Ian Ritchie and the president Bill Beaumont clearly said they had told their clubs there would be no new company.

“Pierre Camou (president of the French Rugby Federation) has clearly indicated in France for some time that there will never be a Franco-English competition, he’s against it. All the federations hope that ERC continues to run the (European) competitions.”

He also says that the Anglo-French proposals would have a detrimental effect on the game in Europe.

“Going from 24 to 20 clubs in the European Cup means the Scottish and Italian teams would lose out,” he said. “I’ve been told it would improve the level of the Challenge Cup (as that would move from 20 to 24 teams) but I remain sceptical because we’re asking for those four teams to come solely from the Celtic League. I would prefer all the leagues to make an effort.”

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

8 thoughts on “ERC boss accuses English and French of ‘guerilla’ tactics

  1. It’s a strange one because no-one really knows who said what anymore. Just sit down, issue a joint statement as to what is currently going on. Preferably that would say that they are all going to sit down like adults to discuss a compromise.

    1. Agree, I’ve completely lost track of who’s said what at this stage. Seems unlikely a reasonable compromise is going to be reached before next season though, which is such a shame.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, my suggestion about joint statements and agreeing on things clearly is not going to happen anytime soon. It’s a real shame – the Heineken game make for such good fixtures.

      2. I like your blogs Jamie. I am in South Africa and am really trying to get my head round all of what is going on. To me the Heinekin Cup is a fantastic competition and of course some teams have no chance of progressing to Knock out stages. However that also applies to the Champions League soccer. I may of course be wrong , however are Munster and Lienster not two of the most successful clubs in HC? I really hope it all gets sorted out soon!

        1. I think it was one of your comments last week Bill that was very telling, that there was no awareness/coverage of the Amlin cup in South Africa.

          This shows one of the key problems that a competition that features half the English and French clubs just isn’t a big enough draw at the moment. Making the Amlin more marketable home and abroad is needed. Here are the teams from this years comp and the countries they come from.

          London Wasps
          London Irish
          Worcester Warriors
          London Welsh

          Stade Français

          Cavalieri Prato

          Bucure?ti Wolves


          Newport Gwent Dragons

          Essentially French and English professional clubs (including some powerhouses of the game like Perpignan and Stade Francais) against some semi-pro sides and a struggling Welsh region. The pool stages produce some cricket scores and only 5 teams qualify for the knock out stages (as 3 teams drop down from the Heineken)

          If all the 6N end up having professional teams in the second tier competition I think it will broaden the appeal significantly.

          Essentially it’s growing the cake, not squabbling over the slices that’s needed.

  2. The ERC don’t do a very good job of losing the despotic image that the English and French clubs are giving them.

    The impression I’ve gotten so far is that England and France came to the table with a suggestion, this was countered with a suggestion that was actually the opposite of what they wanted to do and the ERC have been yelling at them about negotiating and constantly criticising them in statements, seemingly without giving anything in the direction their demands.

    It’s no wonder the French and English have lost patience with them when instead of offering constructive suggestions, they berate them in statements and point out that they have no choice

  3. Isn’t Lux the guy who manipulated the system to stay in the job? Seems he only has his own interests at heart.

    Someone should have grown a pair and sort this out before the start of the season, straight after France & English clubs wrote about their withdrawal!!!

  4. “IT’S NOT FAIR!!!! WAAAAAHHHHHHH. ” is all that says.

    I just hope creative destruction works in this case and something good is built out of the ashes. I’m not interested in hearing any public crying from either side in the mean time though.

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