Premier Rugby and the LNR revealed over the weekend that their proposed breakaway European tournament would be called ‘The Rugby Champions’ Cup’, and despite only being announced yesterday it has already been shot down by several key parties.
On that same day the FFR said it would not give its backing to a tournament that was not sanctioned by the ERC, and today the IRFU seem to have said something similar.
Peter Boyle, a representative of the IRFU on the management board of the ERC, has ruled out the possibility that any of the Irish provinces (funded in a large part by the IRFU) would join the new competition.
“The RFU and French Rugby Federation have already confirmed that there will be no new company other than ERC to run European competitions,” Boyle said to the Independent on Sunday.
“It is unequivocal that the negotiation of TV and other rights is central and it’s done by ERC. The IRFU are bound into ERC and that restricts completely the movement of Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht.”
Boyle did concede, however, that the IRFU would be willing to negotiate a new qualification format to tackle the issue of automatic qualification from the RaboDirect PRO12, which is one of the main problems the English and French clubs appear to have with the current format.