On Wednesday and Thursday (October 23 and 24) we facilitated a meeting of representatives of the six national rugby unions in Dublin.
Progress has been made on a number of issues relating to the future of European club rugby competition. The meeting concluded with consensus among those present on two key principles of competition format and distribution of revenues, and with agreement to meet again very shortly.
There is consensus that there should continue to be two professional European club rugby tournaments, with each tournament consisting of 20 clubs. A third tier European tournament should also be considered.
The primary competition would be made up of 20 clubs, with six each from England's PRL (Premier Rugby Ltd.) and France's LNR (Ligue Nationale de Rugby), and seven from the RaboDirect PRO12 tournament.
The teams would come through meritocratic qualification from their respective leagues. In the case of the PRO12, there will be at least one team guaranteed from each country.
In year one, the 20th place would be allocated through a play-off match between the 7th placed PRL and LNR clubs.
For the following years, the 20th club would qualify through play-offs between the 7th placed PRL and LNR clubs and the two next non-qualified PRO12 clubs. The winner of the secondary competition would qualify to participate in the play-offs, if not already qualified by right.
The English and French clubs would have home advantage in the play-offs against the PRO12 clubs.
The secondary competition would consist of up to 20 clubs made up of the remaining 18 PRL, LNR and PRO12 clubs. Two places could be allocated to teams qualifying from a third competition.
Distribution Of Revenues
There is also consensus that distributable revenues generated through the competitions would be divided one third, one third, one third per league with the stipulation that monies to be received by the PRO12 countries would not be less than the current levels.
At our suggestion, all parties agreed to meet with us again within the next 10 days to discuss the implementation of these principles together with important operational and management issues.
Graeme Mew (Mediator), Stephen Drymer (Mediator), Ian Ritchie (RFU), Rob Andrew (RFU), Bill Beaumont (RFU), Pierre Camou (FFR), Michel Palmié (FFR), Olivier Keraudren (FFR), Philip Browne (IRFU), Peter Boyle (IRFU), Fabrizio Gaetaniello (FIR), Andrea Rinaldo (FIR), Nino Sacca (FIR), Mark Dodson (SRU), Ian McLauchlan (SRU), Roger Lewis (WRU), Jean-Pierre Lux (ERC), Derek McGrath (ERC).
(FFR: Federation Francaise de Rugby; FIR: Federazione Italiana Rugby; IRFU: Irish Rugby Football Union; LNR: Ligue Nationale de Rugby; RFU: Rugby Football Union; SRU: Scottish Rugby Union; WRU: Welsh Rugby Union; ERC: European Rugby Cup).