Exclusive: Pro12 Clubs Not Needed for a Successful Rugby Champions Cup says Tigers CEO

September 30, 2013

By Steve Moorhouse

The CEO of Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers has said that the new European rugby competition formed by English and French clubs does not need teams from the Pro12 in order for it to be a success.

English and French clubs confirmed their exit from the Heineken Cup and the creation of the Rugby Champions Cup last week, cheap cheap arguing that clubs in the Pro12 had an advantage in qualifying and during the tournament itself.

Despite this, clinic many believe that teams from the Pro12 should participate in the new tournament and have made them welcome to join.

Speaking exclusively to iSportconnect, Tigers CEO Simon Cohen said he would like Pro12 teams in the Rugby Champions Cup, but the tournament would be a success with or without them.

“No I don’t think they need to be there,” said Cohen. “I think it would be nice if they were able to compete. You have to remember that if the clubs and provinces were left to their own devices then undoubtedly they would want to participate in the competition.

“The only reason that they may not participate is because the unions will not permit them to. That seems unfair and smacks of inequality.

“Clubs should be free to run their own competitions and develop their own playing programme as they see fit.”

Level playing field

Cohen also spoke about the Champions Cup and how the new competition would be “equal” across the board.

“I think the new competition will be very successful indeed,” he added. “It will be run as an equal competition. The qualification processes will be equal as will the revenue split. I think it holds great hope for the future.

“Everybody would like to see a European competition but there is no point in being a part of that where the playing field is not level.

“The old ERC competition cannot be the competition for the future of English and French clubs.”

Cohen spoke exclusively to iSportconnect in depth about the subject, why the organisers of the Rugby World Cup 2015 are “removed” from the fans and the importance of sponsorship deals for the club. Read more here.

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