Jean-Pierre Lux: ‘LNR and Premiership Rugby lack respect’

The Heineken Cup launched today (potentially for the last time – but let’s not go there right now), which gave the French players and coaches (as well as the outspoken ERC chairman) in attendance a chance to react to all the developments in the European Cup debate. Here’s what they had to say:

Jean-Pierre Lux (ERC Chairman):

“The FFR has now officially reminded the LNR that no international game involving French clubs can take place without the advance permission of the FFR. And the RFU has a similar position regarding Premiership Rugby.

“The recent media releases from the LNR and Premiership Rugby lacked respect. In June, the LNR committed to the principle of central marketing for ERC’s tournaments which has been the at the heart of European club rugby’s commercial success.

“While this process began in 2012, ERC met with the parties during the summer with the exception of Premiership Rugby who refused to engage. They have never entered into negotiations. This impasse is essentially because Premiership Rugby want to renege on a binding commercial deal in favour of their questionable TV contract with BT.

“I sincerely hope that people reflect on the current problems. We have another opportunity for everyone to finally engage with the process with the meeting on 23 and 24 October with the IRB-recommended mediator, Graeme Mew. I hope we will be able to reach an agreement .

“It would be disastrous to deprive so many players and fans of the opportunity of participating in such an outstanding tournament.”

Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse captain):

“We love this competition and we’ll be ready when it starts next month. It’s always one of our major objectives every season to do well in the Heineken Cup. By the time the tournament kicks-off in October we’ll have all our international players back in harness and we should be in good shape.

“We have four stars on our jerseys to show the four European titles we’ve won, but I have only won it once with Toulouse. It would be great to add to that.”

Bernard Laporte (Toulon Head Coach):

“Winning the Heineken Cup has given us a new status and we would like to retain that. I saw the trophy today at the launch and the trophy said to me: ‘The weather is beautiful in Toulon and the girls are beautiful and I don’t want to leave’. That’s what I am going to say to my players.

“We are very proud to have won the Heineken Cup once and we know that if we want to win it again then we will have to be as good as last year. We certainly want to win it again – because it is the Heineken Cup. It is the supreme competition.”

William Servat (Toulouse Assistant Coach and three-time Heineken Cup winner):

“We always look forward to playing in the Heineken Cup. It has given so much to the game and has certainly helped to raise standards. You can’t afford to underestimate any team in this tournament. A few years ago there may have been a few easier matches, but no longer. This is what makes the Heineken Cup so special.

“We are proud to have qualified for every tournament and it is very important to the club. Not only for the players and coaches, but also for our partners and fans. We will keep on playing as hard as we have always done in the past.”

Laurent Labit (Racing Metro 92 coach):

“The Heineken Cup is the first major goal of our season. We hope it will help us to really launch our season. It is very high level competition and you find teams play with a bit more freedom compared to the Top 14.”

Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier):

“The Heineken Cup has always been an absolutely fantastic tournament to play in. We’re going to places like Welford Road and Ravenhill to meet the likes of Leicester Tigers and Ulster. That’s what makes the tournament so special.”

Interesting comments, and although no players or coaches openly came out and condemned the new ‘Rugby Champions Cup’, it certainly sounds like they would prefer not to see the Heineken Cup in its current guise scrapped. Sadly, it is not a decision that is in their hands.

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

4 thoughts on “Jean-Pierre Lux: ‘LNR and Premiership Rugby lack respect’

  1. Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse captain):

    “We love this competition and we’ll be ready when it starts next month. It’s always one of our major objectives every season to do well in the Heineken Cup. By the time the tournament kicks-off in October we’ll have all our international players back in harness and we should be in good shape.

    Interested in the comment about having the International players back by October. So its not only the irish that rest their Internationals then. If you lister to PRL you would imagine the irish have a distinct advantage by resting Internationals. Obviouly not.

    Also Lux’s comment re PRL not engaging in negotiations really sums up PRL’s intentions. Have they backed themselves into a corner with the TV deal I wonder!

    1. The “resting players” is the single dumbest thing that keeps coming up with regards to the HC. As you say, Thierry here points out that it is not exclusive to Rabo teams. The English used to tell us that the week in/out nature of the rugby their players experienced made their teams better, hence Leics/Wasps dominating the HC. Now they don’t do as well as the Irish the very same thing that made them better is the thing that made them worse. If only this whole thing could have stuck to the facts:

      a) PRL/LNR believe they can make more money if the comp is run by clubs.
      b) There is no b). Go back to a).

      We might not have the mess we have now – as soon as PRL started talking about inferior leagues, unfair competitive advantages etc. then feelings were hurt, mud was slung and it all went wrong … and then triple wrong when PRL sold the TV rights for the tournament before sorting out that there was going to be one …

  2. So, it’s basically all hysteria generated by BT. I always thought the rumours and hearsay arguments about qualification structure seemed bogus, illogical, without any real factual citation, or basic intellectual merit of any kind. Move along people. It’s just another commercial legal case in the TV sports rights world. We’ve seen them in every sport, and now it’s finally made it to the big time in club rugby union.

    I suppose we should be pleased at how European club rugby is all grown up and is financially lucrative. However, we should learn from history (NFL, English premiership) where this could eventually lead, especially if national rugby federations aren’t powerful in this AND transparent. It would lead to bribery, and Sky TV or some other entity taking complete control, rampant pervasive, persistent, and tacky advertising in your face at every viewing.

    Be ready for more mania.. every year I presume, or every month..

    Frankly, I do hope the ERC make some changes so we can move onto saga number 2 on Rupert Murdoch’s agenda or whichever honcho we’re talking about next.

Comments are closed.