In an ironic and somewhat unedifying turn for the men behind the new European Rugby Champions Cup, officials from the organisation that ran the now defunct Heineken Cup, ERC (European Rugby Cup), have been asked to run the new edition of European rugby’s premier competition.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, organisers of the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup have been left with egg on their faces after being forced to subcontract the running of the first season of the cup to the very organisation it is killing off.
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the body based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, that will run the new cup, has entered into a ‘service agreement’ with ERC, the Telegraph reports.
It is a remarkable stay of execution for the Dublin-based ERC, an organisation that Quentin Smith, chairman of Premier Rugby, described not so long ago as being “no longer fit for purpose”, before declaring “there will no longer be a need for it”.
It was a strange thing for Smith to say, given that EPCR was only formed in April and has not even begun its recruitment yet, a process that is expected to take up to a year. It was always likely that the new organisation would need some help in the early stages, and there are few better-placed and more experienced than those that have been running the Heineken Cup for the past decade.
ERC staff are also expected to be given first refusal on any full-time job at EPCR that mirrors their current role, but it is not yet known whether they will be willing to relocate their livelihoods from Dublin to Neuchatel.
Alongside the general recruitment process, the EPCR are looking for an independent chairman to head up a 12-strong board, that is almost identical to the one at ERC.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images