Today’s soundbite on the Heineken Cup comes from Paul Goze, president of the LNR (the organisation that oversees the French clubs, similar to Premiership Rugby in England), who has left us in no doubt as to where he sees the future of European rugby.
In a strongly worded statement to the AFP – perhaps coming in response to those of ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux and the FFR statement of recent days – Goze said that the ERC had unequivocally failed in negotiations thus far, and that the French clubs were 100% committed to the breakaway tournament, named this weekend the ‘Rugby Champions Cup’.
Goze is adamant that the LNR will not return to negotiations. “I totally exclude returning to negotiations, they have failed for fifteen months, they will not come to a resolution in a fortnight. There are contracts that have been signed by various parties that mean there are no opportunities (for reconciliation),” he said.
“Creating a new competition will help us out of the trap which we have been in for several months. It is not just a desire to carry out a coup.”
Canadian Graeme Mew has been drafted in as a mediator, but Goze is bullish in his insistence that the time for a compromise has passed.
“The mediator can’t change the fact that contracts are signed,” he added. “He may be able to mediate on the organisation of the competition, but with regards to the fundamental problem of this competition, we have passed the stage of negotiation. We have reached a dead end and we must find a way out. If we do not take the initiative, he will not.”