IRB Want Pan-European Competition But Could Approve Anglo/French Tournament

September 19, 2013

The International Rugby Board (IRB) would only consider backing a new Anglo/French competition if it was approved by the national federations, but the governing body wants to continue with a pan-European tournament.

Top-flight English and French rugby clubs want to start a new tournament to replace the Heineken Cup from next season, after becoming disillusioned with the qualification process and perceived unfair advantage for other nations.

IRB CEO Brett Gosper (pictured) told BBC Sport: “The RFU would have to approve their clubs partaking in such a competition, and the French would have to approve their clubs.

“If both unions approve it and felt comfortable with it, for whatever reason that might be, then the likelihood is we’d approve it.”

Pan-European competition favoured

After Gosper’s statement, the IRB released their own report and clarified that they are in favour of a “strong pan-European” competition.

“A strong pan-European competition is in the best interests of the development of European Rugby and the International Rugby Board (IRB) strongly encourages and supports ongoing stakeholder dialogue in order to reach an agreement,” read the IRB statement.

“To clarify the global competition procedure, under IRB Regulations all cross-border club competitions require Union approval in the first instance and, if reached, ultimately the approval of the IRB Council.

“We naturally support our Unions in their attempts to grow a thriving, genuinely cross-European competition.

“All hypothetical scenarios remain just that with discussions ongoing and it would not be appropriate to pre-empt the view of Council, should approval be required.”