Welsh Regions confirm support for the Rugby Champions Cup

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A statement on behalf of the four Welsh regions has added a dramatic twist to the ongoing European saga, with the momentum now swinging towards the breakaway Champions Cup competition.

Here’s the statement in full.

“Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) on behalf of the four Welsh Regions confirms its full support for the proposed new Rugby Champions Cup Competitions.


“Whilst there remain elements of detail to be confirmed, it is now clear that there are a number of significant advantages to the new competitions in equality of governance, format, qualification and distribution across the individual participating Clubs.


“Consequently, RRW looks forward to working with the WRU to support their efforts and positive engagement in striving to ensure our teams are involved in strong, valuable European Clubs Competitions in time for next season.”

How does this change things?

33 thoughts on “Welsh Regions confirm support for the Rugby Champions Cup

  1. Much respect for the Welsh Regions coming down off the fence and being positive. Doesn’t this leave the WRU between a rock and a hard place though? I find it interesting that the Welsh Regions see one of the advantages of the new competition as ‘equality of Governance’ What do welsh contributers think this implies for future relations between RRW and WRU?

  2. The word on twitter is that the WRU are totally behind this. That would also be brilliant if true and I’m inclined to believe it.

    1. No doubt the committee men will drag out agreement on the detail for weeks but I think it’s pretty well unstoppable now. I think a small libation is in order!

  3. Ha typical of the welsh they have just betrayed the game of rugby that so many welsh people have come to love are these people mad to be backing the anglo french billionares charter which has no real concern for our sport of rugby union. There is oviously a big financial bribe in play here for them (welsh) to do something like this. This is i feel the most serious development yet and biggest threat to the game since it went down the professional route as i believed all along that the sugar daddys were bluffing and had no real leg to stand on but the clowns who run regional rugby in wales have just given them their biggest shot in the arm imaginable and have created a huge barrier to the hein cup and all sensible rugby continuning , I wonder what financial incentives were put on the table because clearly only a financial crisis in the regions could trigger something as stupid as this. They probably are getting all 4 regions in and a final in cardiff every 2 or 3 years ,has to be a good deal i would imagine.

    1. Oh please will your carer take your keyboard away from you; your ill informed xenophobic and badly constructed ramblings are hurting my eyes now.

    2. Read your post looking for an actual point but all I got was bluster blah blah insult blah bluster bluster insult blah.

      Getting back to the crux of the issue, do you think teams making an equal contribution to a competition deserve an unequal share of the spoils? If so why?

      Only with equality does everyone have a shared incentive to grow the brand. Kudos to the Welsh Regions for making the first move on this, and for making it clear in their statement they buy into the values of the new competition.

      1. To be fair to Johne I think that he was saying that the Welsh regions had sold out to the Anglo French mafia, which might not be entirely incorrect, however it probably could have been put in a slightly more constructive way, I do agree!

        1. You put far too nice a spin on it Staggy … I get the impression from Johne that basically the only standup, decent and sensible people in the whole world of rugby are Irish. I’m then going to take a longshot and guess that Johne himself might also be Irish, but obviously his appraisal of their excellence and integrity versus everyone else’s money grabbing, back stabbing ignorance is not related.

    3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/england/10390774/Sir-Ian-McGeechan-my-blueprint-for-English-rugby-union.html

      This makes a very interesting ready (mostly off this topic) but in it Geech makes a rather salient point.

      I understand that European Rugby Cup has a fair pot of money in the bank, but you ask yourself – why? They are not a business in their own right. The business is the competition and the clubs that are in it. That is why the English and French clubs rightly want change, especially in the redistribution of funds.

      I did a quick search to see if I could find an annual report or financial statement and came up empty handed. The assumption that the ERC are the good guys in all of this and acting with the best interests of the game at heart may not be a sound one.

  4. Thank God for this

    I was expecting it, as long as the Anglo-French clubs held their ground then the rest were forced to follow into whatever competition was created.

    This dispute is just the latest round of a 2 decade long fight between the unions and the clubs. The unions want to maintain control of rugby, they have been playing as many international games as possible in order to prevent the domestic leagues to prosper. Well it is an inexorable force. Club rugby will continue to grow and thank the lord. The people who run rugby still live in the past, they are more concerned with their own power than the future of the game.

    The more power the clubs have the greater the chance the the season will better organised.

    Domestic rugby before the 6N and international club Rugby after the 6N with internationals in the summer sounds great. Get rid of the autumn internationals to create space.

    1. Wow can’t beat a storm to bring the rats out lol. When all the hype on here has died down i wonder if someone can please tell me what is exactly so wrong with the hein cup at present. It gives the likes of edinburg ,dragons ,connaught, exeter, and the italians and more all a realistic chance of competiting at the top table without having to break themselves financially as we see so often in soccer, it also helps to considerably help close the gap between regular club rugby and test match level for several players . The erc are also planning to stage future finals in places like milan and barcelona and even germany all soccer strongholds . Tell me why should there be an equal distrubition of funds? Multi millionare clubs of france or england or even the rich boys of leinster gobbling up more and more funds that should be going to sustain and delevop the standards in .e.g. zebre, edinburg , dragons or even develop a future franchise in eastern europe. This is the sort of money grabbing that happened in soccer when the champions league was set up with the result that no fewer than half a dozen clubs are realistic contenders from year to year despite a much bigger playing base around europe. The folk who run the erc and modern day rugby are pretty shrewd and have steadily guided the game through the early proffessional era to give us the likes of a competition like the heinieken cup and super rugby and have made rugby world cup the no 3 global sporting event if the anglo -french charade succeeds then the game will esetianlly die in real terms,

      1. I think that you will find that the main grumble was that the distribution of funds wasn’t even and the distribution of power lay with the RABO alliance. Had these matters been more even, this split may not have happened.

        I’m afraid that you are naïve if you think power and money don’t matter, and professionalism has indeed pushed our sport down the football road whether we like it or not. It has brought some positives though.

        Personally am all for development of European rugby and that is why the Unions need to win this one over the clubs. Fine lines and tightropes spring to mind!

      2. The problem with ERC? They treated 70% of the contributors – 26 clubs out of 38. – unfairly and rather than acknowledge the Anglo/French subsidy involved they chose to claim it didn’t exist. To compound this stupidity people like you come along with xenophobic insults – How long did you think you could get away with biting the hand that fed you? Time to pay the piper. Who’s damaging rugby? Look in the mirror.

          1. Seconded.

            I’m a bit surprised now that the Welsh regions have come out in support at all of the vitriol that is now coming their way. For me, once I separated the approach (the English went about this mostly the wrong way i.e. in the press, telling other countries they’d better join or go bust, sabre rattling) from the intent (a new Euro comp that shares the money out per club and demands meritocratic qualification) I became much happier about it. The approach sucked, but ignore that and the intent seems fine.

            I think a lot of people are still hung up on the approach – in Wales (don’t know about Ireland) this even seems to have turned into one of those awful working-class-sincerity vs mine-owner-duplicity debates so now the regions are “sellouts”…. Messy business. I’m a bit worried by the lack of follow up from the WRU now – the only thing they’ve done is a sneaky attempt to get their central contracts idea back into play. I now fear that RRW and the WRU might well be on different pages … back into the mire …

            1. Oh, reading that realised I didn’t point out that the ERC/Unions approach also sucked – same press release strategy, head in sand, toys out of pram, etc. Really, the people who run our game are pretty large tools. Worrying.

              1. If you were English the vitriol wouldn’t surprise you Brighty. I was in NZ during the last world cup and ironically the fans who were the best company were the French
                Have a look at the reader comments on the irish Times web site

                I think the English approach was at least partially frustration because ERC patently just refused to believe that the Anglo-French weren’t bluffing perhaps coupled to the view that the English will be vilified. no matter what approach we take so why bother with Mr nice guy.

                1. And then you get to evil Gatland daring to drop sacred BOD (for a player who produced a better performance). The outpouring of bile was a real credit to the sport …. first time I’ve been ashamed to be a rugby fan.

            2. Brighty, I agree the approach has sucked (well done to RFU & Ritchie for not doing their talking publicly at least!).

              It is important to keep in mind that the English and French gave their notice in June 2012, this has been broken for a long time. I’m by no means condoning the “join us or die” approach, but when you are not listened to or taken seriously for so long you tend to shout louder.

              1. Agreed Matt, which is why I ensured I added that the ERC/RaboUnions “same press release strategy, head in sand, toys out of pram, etc.”

            3. The WRU statement seems a sensible stop-gap way of dealing with players that are out of contract at the end of this season. Do you think it is the thin end of the wedge?

              1. I think the WRU know this will upset the regions as it’s something the WRU have wanted to instigate for ages so to try and do it now when the regions are vulnerable will be seen as a sly move and could start civil war again.

      3. JOHNE, I agree with you on the need to fund and develop the game, but not on how you suggest it should be done.

        I’m hoping equal distribution will mean (tier 1 comp income + tier 2 comp income)/total number of teams. So everyone gets the same slice regardless of whether they have qualified for the tier 1 comp or not. Now I think (but stand to be corrected) this is how PRL currently do it. This is one of the reasons the premiership teams are at such a funding disadvantage compared to Ireland (for example). Having all their teams in this years’ the top tier comp means not have to dilute their income with other teams (though I have no idea if Connaught get the same sort of funding as Leinster will for playing in the same comp). If not qualifying for the tier 1 comp means big losses in funding, reducing playing budgets and making it harder to qualify in the future then they have got it wrong, so I hope this is not the case.

        If we are equally sharing the pie then getting more revenue from the second tier comp is important. A 2×20 format which ensures that everyone has participants in both is going to increase the interest and marketability in my opinion. 13 English with French clubs with Dragons as the only RABO participants doesn’t currently accomplish this. 6 RABO sides in the second tier comp means there will be more fixtures that people will pay to watch regardless of them being ‘tier 2’, generating more revenue for all.

        Then it comes back to the arguments of “It’s not our problem the English and French have 26 teams” and “why should we lose out because you have more teams than us?” You have to look at where the money actually comes from. The reason broadcasters like Sky or BT are willing to pay big bucks to screen the competition is because there are 26 well supported teams and a large audience willing to pay. The large audience is why sponsors want to pay to put their name on it. Anyone who doesn’t recognise this must also believe denial is a river in Egypt. Yes of course we need someone to play, but not so desperately that we have to pay you much better than our own teams to do it! The reality of it is with the Welsh in there are now 30 teams and it’s a credible competition. Having the remaining 8 in will make it far better, but will probably actually dilute the income for everyone else.

        1. As I understand it Matt the funding/revenue for the tier 1 and 2 competitions is pooled ie the oft quoted £44 million is for both competitions. Where qualification is on merit no team can be certain which competition it will play in so the cash has to be shared equally otherwise how could clubs plan and budget? Otherwise a club just missing out on the tier 1 competition might be forced to fire staff.

          1. Thanks for the clarification (correction) Ray. Do you know where the actual figures are published at all? I had a quick search without finding anything official.

  5. Nevet found anything authoritive. The celts tend to ignore the amlin because they are almost all giaranteed HK rugby. Hence claim that PRL distributes to too many clubs. Also all HK revenues go to unions and who knows how they distribute to clubs. Its quite possible that some rabo cllubs receive less than you might think if their union is greedy.

  6. lol it gas on here really , I pose a question on a blog here a while ago and despite all the bluff and bluster from most of the contributers i still have not recieved a real answer as somehow i knew i wouldn’t. lol. So i will pose the question again , What is so wrong with the current structures around the erc competitions,i.e. hein and amlin cups, It gives the smaller teams a realistic chance of dining at the top table without a major financial outlay that would probably break these teams e.g. Edinburg , Dragons,Connaught, and the italian sides and smaller clubs in france and england, Why should the well setup and succesful sides of france , england and the strong irish provinces and the big welsh regions simply be handed out more money on a plate rather than consider seriously expanding and delevoping the sport around europe like setting up a franchise in eastern europe to encompass the best talent in the fast emerging nations of Georgia,Romania and Russia or developing a franchise between Spain and Portugal and playing future finals in major european capitals more associated with soccer. Why are the so called rugby lovers on here so against expanding the game and instead think that the bigger succesful sides should simply get more handouts and to hell with everybody else who get left behind , just like the champions league has done with less and less potential winners of their thropy each season, The erc are correct to hold a tight hand on the finances and have by and large done very well to bring club rugby to the level that it is currently at in europe. Would the anglo french charter be good for the game and achieve what the erc have managed to do in the last 15 years or so , Personally i don’t think so but would love some real answers to these questions from the usual bloggers here , I think that my arguments are pretty conclusive and any counter argument is really only about people looking after their own patch and to hell with everybody else involved in rugby.

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