Toulon vow to boycott Euro breakaway in quotas row

European champions Toulon will not take part in the proposed Anglo-French tournament and will remain in the Heineken Cup as a protest against the French league’s plan to limit the number of foreign players, club president Mourad Boudjellal said.

“Given the quotas the league wants to impose on us, we will go play the [existing] European Cup next season because ERC [European Rugby Cup] does not have quotas on foreign players, contrary to the LNR’s ruling,” Boudjellal told French media.

Boudjellal, however, did not mention a withdrawal from the French Top 14, the competition in which the quotas would apply.

The English and French elite clubs have said they would establish two 20-team competitions to replace the Heineken and Challenge Cup tournaments from 2014 after they were unsuccessful in reaching agreement with organisers on a new structure.

Heineken Cup organisers are still hoping to prevent the breakaway, which is centred on dissatisfaction over qualification criteria and the distribution of income.

Meanwhile Wales coach Warren Gatland warns attempts to set up a breakaway tournament will fail. The Rugby Champions Cup, due to start next season, is a result of Anglo-French frustration with Heineken Cup qualification and revenue sharing.

“I don’t see an Anglo-French competition being successful or lasting that long,” Gatland said. “I think all parties want full representation from all the countries.”

Gatland believes a tournament that includes only English and French clubs will damage the game in Europe. “There needs to be some sort of protection for a Scottish or Italian team potentially,” he added. “Without their involvement we could see an impact into the Six Nations.”

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