Jump to main content


News article – Style E 4772

News article – Style E 4772

Tournament Director David Jordan has admitted that it may take another season before the Celtic League can finally find a title sponsor.

Tournament Director David Jordan has admitted that it may take another season before the Celtic League can finally find a title sponsor.

Former Glasgow Chief Executive Jordan, who took over the League role from Keith Grainger in February, had the worst possible start to his tenure when the 2005/06 competition was sensationally cancelled in May, as the three Unions clashed over the Welsh Regions’ participation in a proposed Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Thankfully, a mammoth nine-hour meeting of the Celtic League Association in London in June rescued the coming season’s Celtic League. With a peace deal brokered, and a four-year accord tentatively put in place, Jordan expects the new season, which begins on September 2, to have “a real bite” to it.

“Some major advances have been made for the coming season – particularly the fact that all three Unions will now use the League to determine which of their teams qualify for the Heineken Cup, as well as their Heineken Cup seedings,” Jordan told irishrugby.ie.

“With no League games being played during international weekends we should also see the majority of each country’s home-based international players participating regularly. These changes will bring real bite to the League and I think we will see a dramatic rise in game intensity and competitiveness.

“From an Irish point of view, Connacht can now obtain a Heineken Cup place by right, and that’s another example of the real purpose that will exist in the League.”

Four years on from its incarnation, the Celtic League is still worryingly without a title sponsor. For the competition’s longevity, sponsorship is an issue Jordan needs to, and wants to, exploit.

“The League needs a sponsor for credibility’s sake alone. To achieve this, we simply have to have stability, and be able to demonstrate purpose and unity. That’s in our structure now, however it may take another season before potential commercial partners are convinced of this.

“We are actively seeking a sponsor and have had some serious interest. Time, unfortunately, is not on our side, and given the investment involved, companies are cautious about events such as the recent ones the League has encountered.

“The Celtic League is, however, a very attractive commercial property. Over 70 games were broadcasted live last season and the amount of media coverage is very substantial,” he added.

With a mountain of pre-season chores, which include the legal work surrounding the four-year accord and the club participation agreement, to get through, the Scot is at least certain of one thing – the Welsh Regions, who will play their derby games in midweek, will be at the business-end of the table again this year.

“The Welsh have recruited well. The Ospreys will be up there as favourites. There have been some notable signings and I can see Ulster and Cardiff reversing their fortunes from last season,” admitted Jordan.

“I’d predict that all three countries will be represented in the top four by the League’s finish with a dogfight at the other end for teams to avoid missing out on Heineken Cup. If that transpires, then the League will have truly lived up to all expectations.”