IRB Chairman Warns Against Breakaway League

October 31, 2013

Bernard Lapasset, chairman of the International Rugby Board, has warned that English and French clubs who wish to break away and form a new European league do not have the right to force other leagues to join them. 

English and French clubs have attempted to persuade other teams in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales to leave the European Rugby Cup (ERC) to join a new 20-team Champions Cup from 2014.

The English and French – whose national federation does not approve of the breakaway – are displeased with the qualifying system and the European Cup’s revenue distribution. The top six sides in the two nations are guaranteed a European Cup spot, but at least 10 Celtic League sides – both Scottish and Italian teams and at least three each from Wales and Ireland – get a free pass.

Enligh and French teams want a thrid of the revenue each, with the other third to be shared between the Celts and Italians. 

Lapasset believes the English and French clubs have approached the matter too aggressively. He said: “They have gone too far. One league does not have the right to lay down the law in rugby. The rugby world must be governed fairly and with respect for others.”