Progress in Heineken Cup talks

The English RFU will hold another meeting with their Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Italian and French counterparts early next year as they bid to save the Heineken Cup.

Ian Ritchie, the RFU’s chief executive, was in Dublin yesterday for a meeting with the other unions – the first since they were excluded from a key meeting last month.

The meeting lasted around five hours and there was a consensus that talks were productive and that they should continue in January.

Yet it is too early to say whether the RFU will be able to resolve the impasse over the future of the competition, with English clubs set to be excluded from next year’s Heineken Cup.

Ritchie has said he is ‘hell-bent’ on finding a solution and put his case forward in a meeting that was mediated by Graeme Mew and Stephen Drymer.

It is thought that Ritchie and Pierre Camou, the president of the French Federation, set the tone for the meeting with their exchange as Ritchie put his case across.

There was no solution but that was not expected and Ritchie returned to London with the agreement that the parties will meet again as the next step in the process.

The most likely scenario is still that the English sides will not compete in next season’s competition, however, with the ongoing battle over the TV rights among many issues that would have to be settled.

ERC have an agreement with Sky Sports while Premiership Rugby has a deal with BT Sport.


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