B&I Cup Redux

When we broke up for Christmas (not Palla and I thankfully, you and us), we had reached what seemed like the end of the beginning of the HEC/RCC saga – the old HEC wasn’t coming back but what, if anything, would replace it was unclear. Since then, the already messy scene has tippled over into mayhem with the Welsh regions announcing their intention to stomp their feet up and down if they didn’t get their way opt out of the WRU participation agreement and join with PRL in a 16 team Anglo-Welsh league.

It is often said that Irish rugby is always in a great place even if the team never wins, but Welsh rugby is always in crisis even though they are always winning.  It’s never rung more true.

The WRU responded with a ‘meh’ and swiftly threatened to replace the franchises with, erm, four new, equally makey-uppey ones for the Pro12-Feet-Under – effectively North (never a rugby stronghold), East, West and .. er … Millennium Stadium. Riiiiiiiiight. However, outrage from the clubs and fans (both of them) have resulted in something of a rowback, and the union are working out how to get the genie back in the bottle.

Meanwhile, from what we can piece together, it appears the IRFU and SRU have taken a break from pinching pennies to meet the RFU and WRU for crisis talks – the power grab from PRL and intentional killing of the HEC have resulted in a proposal for a beefed up B&I Cup containing the 12 Premiership and ten Pro-12-Feet-Under sides … to be broadcast by … BT Sport! Heads you lose, tails I win.  We’re not exactly sure what has happened to the Heineken Cup run by the ERC, which all bar the English had apparently agreed to play in, but it appears to once again have fallen apart, presumably because of the Welsh defection.  Or has it?  Eddie O’Sullivan said on the recent Second Captains podcast that they still want to play in the European competition.  Confused?  You’re not the only one.

The PRL (and the Welsh regions) will bugger off on their own if this doesn’t come to pass. A season-long Anglo-Welsh Cup may sound beyond beyond dreadful, and who knows if it is even feasible (what happens when the Dragons get relegated?) but it may be an acceptable position for the English clubs if it is enough to trigger the lovely, lovely money BT Sport will pay them.  They have a powerful card to play to get the RFU to do their bidding – they sort of own the England players and the RFU are hosting the World Cup. If a schism isn’t avoided, England D, led by Luke Narraway, will be humiliated in their home tournament. None of the old farts want that.

[ Aside: unpopular and, on the face of it, pointless competitions might be unappealing for fans and annoying for coaches who have to manage their players’ fitness, but if they bring in money, who cares? Look at the Europa League – fans don’t give a hoot, managers hate the disruption, but TV money means it happens.]

The first thing missing in all of this is the French clubs, who appear to have played a blinder – they’ll probably get what most of them want, a Top16, and the English will get the blame. Mark McCafferty and his army of Stephen Joneses might bemoan the treachery, but he can hardly complain about self-interest when the PRL are interested only in lining their own pockets at the expense of whoever gets in their way.

The second is the Italian sides, and it’s not clear exactly what they’ve done to deserve being isolated like this.  Italy won two matches in the recent Six Nations and its development as a rugby nation should remain a key concern of European rugby. In the 3 seasons they have been in the Pro12, the national side has improved each year – 2 wins and 4th last year tied for their best outcome, and a points difference of -36 was their best ever by far, and shows improving competitiveness.  Besides, if nothing else, their involvement would bring the numbers from an awkward 22 to a more rounded 24.

So how will this impact the provinces? If the Anglo-Welsh contingent break away on their own, it’s terrible news – for everyone.  The Irish will dominate the rump Pro-12-Feet-Under (or should that be Pro8) even more than they currently do, if it even continues to exist. Ireland will correspondingly suffer with their players (those who don’t leave anyway) starved of competitive rugger. It’s a nightmare scenario, no question.  If the compromise B&I Cup happens, they’ll get two home games against reps of Perfidious Albion, which always gets Gerry’s syntax bubbling and fans’ goats up – that’s not as good as a full HEC, but it’s something, and the Pro12 will continue to muddle on.

That’s not to say they should row in behind the tournament on everyone else’s terms, and to date the IRFU have talked a commendable game on the importance of governance of the sport: it’s crucial they continue to uphold this principle.  The Anglo-Welsh fallback position is hardly the best hand to be going up against with issues such as relegation and promotion almost certainly not even given a moment’s thought as yet and for all the English sweet-talking to the Welsh, it’s hard to see what they can really bring to improve the Premiership.  The move looks like it’s designed to decimate the Pro12 more than build anything constructive.

This saga probably has a fair bit of mileage in it yet.  Lucky us.

PS. complaining about Stephen Jones hypocrisy is pointless, but he has really taken the biscuit in this saga. At Lions time, he breaks down in tears at mention of the amateur Corinthian spirit the concept embodies and takes potshots at the likes of Willie John McBride, the greatest Lion of all, for besmirching the idea with nationalism, then morphs into a red in tooth and claw laissez-faire money talks capitalist four-square behind the blood-sucking club owners of PRL. When rugby ends up with odious villains like Vincent Tan or dodgy tyrants like the owners of Manchester City and Chelsea owning the big clubs, we hope he’s happy.

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  1. Mike

     /  January 8, 2014

    The Rabo should invite the likes of London Irish, Newcastle, Cornwall, Sale etc into it. If those teams guarenteed to pick say 10 English qualified players each week they might get the blessing of the RFU. If I was an owner of one of the lower AP teams i’d seriously consider it. In all the media bluster, nobody has really taken time to sit back and discuss what an awful job PRL management is doing for them. They are staring down the barrel of a financial disaster (rumored £3m reduction in revenue if there is no RCC). The sudden desire to get the Welsh on board (they wouldn’t have considered them a few years back) just looks like an increasing desperation to me and hilariously, i think the Welsh clubs are using them to get what they want from the WRU in exactly the same way as the French did.

  2. Leinsterlion

     /  January 8, 2014

    Its time to gut the top level who are supposedly running the game in Europe and replace with with a single professional board, whose sole aims are to increase revenue, increase participation eg: Grow the game, spanish teams etc. In trying to hold onto what they have the boards of the big three in the Pro12 are making a defensive play, they are underestimating the long term TV growth that would result from expanding into new European markets. To grow the game we need more access to more TV markets, the sidelining of Italy and blacklisting of other nations is a disgrace, its all about keeping control of fiefdoms rather than creating an empire. The SRU, IRFU et all are just as bad as McCaffery, dont forget that, I’d wager a good portion of them still think the WC and professionalism were bad ideas!

    While I dont agree with the GP owners (its their own crap business plans and lack of stadia thats the issue with them not making enough money) stance on Europe, your decrying of capitalism and private ownership is wrong. For one, I’d say Leinster would be better off under private ownership, massive cachement area, marketing potential, convenient stadia, only pro game in town, yeah we’d do alright. The GP owners are looking out for themselves as they should be, they are not running a charity, the IRFU’s stance should be the same, the IRFU are not running a charity, no appeasement, no negotiation, the GP needs us more than we need them, they have a BT tv deal to sell.

    As for the B&I cup, only been to two games because a mate was playing, other than that have no interest, thats what the AIL is for. Terrible idea, will boycott. Europa league analogy is wrong, its closer to the Intertoto cup!

    In short we need to hire a Gordon Gekko to run all European rugby, you cant beat the McCafferys by adopting a Neville Chamberlain approach, get greedy, expand the HC into foreign markets, throw in some CC teams(Kings are looking for a place to play with no S15) and let the English play with themselves.

  3. Matt

     /  January 8, 2014

    I think it’s pretty ridiculous the lack of leadership the IRB have taken in the whole situation, and with the current talk about restructuring Super Rugby for an Argentinian team, and the wishes of everyone for a global season, surely they should take charge and at least try to present a global solution. Here’s me idea; The French get their two more teams in their league, albeit the Italian sides are included too, so it’s a Top 18. It makes more sense geographically for the Italians to play in France than in the Celtic Nations, and hopefully their teams are now at a suitable standard they would be able to survive, they’d probably get the odd hammering, but their home form should mean they don’t get embarrassed throughout the season. Then there is a British and Irish Premiership made up of 18 teams, 8 English teams with the 10 Celtic teams, this might be difficult to persude the English of, but if Worcester and Newcastle are so much better than Connacht and Dragons they’ll just get promoted then. The European competition comes in the form of the End of Season playoffs, where the top 4 from each league enter into quarter finals to find the champions of Europe. The most matches any team could play is 37, which is similar to what any Top 14 team going all the way in both competitions will play now, so it’s manageable.
    Super Rugby, now including the sixth South African team that they want, two Argentinian teams, as well one each from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, one from Japan, has 22 teams too, but there is a Super Rugby Division 1 and 2, Division 1 made of 11 teams consisting of the highest 11 from the previous season, all the new teams and the bottom four making up Division 2. (This is a bit dodgy, but I’m making this up as I go along, surely the IRB could consider something like this?) I’m each Division you play every other team home and away, the Top 4 in Division 1 enter the play offs for the Championship, while the bottom four enter playoffs against the top 4 from division 2, so there could be from 0 to 4 promotions each season. The 8th finisher in d1 would play against 4th place in d2, 9th v 3rd, 10th v 2nd and bottom in d1 v top in d2, all playing home and away.
    So these major club competitions would be played during the period from August-April, then the Rugby Championship and Six Nations would both start, finishing in Early June. Then straight into the June tests, in which a NH country would play a three match series away to a SH team one June, then next time they’d be at home, building up a good rivalry. In World Cup years, there’d be no six nations or Rugby championship or June tests, just warm up matches then into the tournament. So yeah, there my new global rugby season, if only the IRB had as much time on their hands

    • krustie92

       /  January 8, 2014

      Using geography for league system in Northern Hemisphere and ranking system for league system in Southern Hemisphere is flawed plan. The distances are much larger there. Max flight time here would be about 4 hours. Flight between Japan and South Africa is about 21 hours. Time differences would also be an issue. It’s probably more suited to some form of NFL style Conference system.

      But at least there is the makings of plan there which is more than IRB can say about their work.

      Your Southern Hemisphere league does solve the problem of non-relegation leagues where only 5 or 6 teams are in running for play-off at halfway stage, with rest of league left to fight for pride.

      • Matt

         /  January 8, 2014

        That’s true, but that’s the flights they work with at the minute when South African teams playing New Zealand teams. I don’t like the current conference system as it gives the Aussie teams an advantage as they get more games against the weakest teams, whereas the New Zealand is by far the strongest, so in my idea if the best three teams next year were the Chiefs, Crusaders and the Blues they’d be the top 3 come the end of the season.

  4. The WRU won’t (and can’t) approve an Anglo-Welsh league as they are contracted to the Pro12. So the only way that any Anglo-Welsh league could happen is if the Regions break from the WRU. If they were to do that they would need to join another Union, the RFU in this case, while the WRU go ahead and create new Regions.

    There is no precedent for something like this, and having had a glance through the IRB Regulations there’s nothing there that seems to cover this situation. Which would mean that the IRB Council would need to rule on it. Chances of that? Slim to none I’d guess. Even if it did would the RFU & PRL be willing to take them on? Sure the PRL talk the talk about this A-W league, but when all comes to all will they really be happy to admit the Welsh Regions? And with Championship teams going mental over the whole idea would the RFU be willing to approve it all? Again I’d guess that the chances are slim to none.

    This whole A-W league is all about strengthening the hand of the PRL in relation to the RCC. The British & Irish league is about as likely as the A-W league is too. As you said there’s plenty of mileage left in this one. And it’s only making rugby in Europe a less and less attractive option for sponsors and for potential fans.

    • Mike

       /  January 8, 2014

      and what would that do to their remaining support base being ‘English’ clubs.

      If they break away and play outside a union their players then become ineligible for Wales.

      Thats before we get on to where they would get their referees from. Its an absolute non runner.

  5. Amiga500

     /  January 8, 2014

    There won’t be an Anglo-Welsh league as the WRU will not allow them to play in it.

    If the PRL and RRW want it, they’ll have to leave the sport. Which leaves the RFU to pick up the pieces of its own disaster.

    An ideal way of doing that would be for them (and the WRU) to form their own teams and compete directly with the PRL/RRW ensemble.

    The biggest money maker in the game is international rugby, by a distance. They can strangle the PRL/RRW.

    • krustie92

       /  January 8, 2014

      As a matter of curiosity has anyone got numbers or seen numbers on the money making abilities of club vs national game atm? Is the international game definitely making that much profit. They have a much smaller playing window than the club season. For example, Ireland have a max 11 games a year typically, with only 5 of those being competitive. And as the rights to 6N are protected (I think) by legislation they can’t negotiate bumper deals with Sky for those games.

      I’ve read before the Aussie Union is relying on cyclical extraordinary events (Lions tours, Placing in WC) to renew its cash reserves, day-to-day they’re making losses.

      • Paddy

         /  January 8, 2014

        I haven’t seen the numbers but my understanding is that 6N TV revenues are split fairly evenly if not exactly. There was a similar row to this one over it back in the 90s where the English got thrown out of the competition.

        I read a fans comment on the Graun awhile back that the RFU make roughly the same as the PRL. The support the PRL through the EPS agreement, worth 110 million over 8 years and provide funing for the academy. Despite this they are still mostly loss making.


        In the smaller home nations the 6N is king. it pays for almost everything. Not so much in England or France but the English clubs are still dependent on it for some funding and also the exposure it gives the game.

      • IRFU make around 60 million a year, 85% of that coming from International games (the remainder coming from HEC TV rights, staging HEC quarters/semis etc. at the Aviva and so on). All covered here:

        I’d expect that a similarly high percentage of income from internationals could be ascribed to Wales, Scotland and Italy (NZ, Australia, Argentina might be even higher, SA likely lower).

        The last published figures from the PRL (from 2 years ago) gave total PRL turnover (which includes player release fees from the RFU) as 120 million sterling with expected growth year-on-year of 5%. The RFU itself topped 150 million in turnover for the first time in 2013. So at best the English club game can claim parity with the international team in terms of earnings.

        So even if the BT deal is as good as is trumpeted (it isn’t) then the only country where the club game is definitely bigger than the national game is France, where the big 6 all have budgets of over 20 million and even the ProD2 teams have budgets in the 2 to 5 million range.

        Have no doubt: the PRL/BT aim is to damage the international game as far as possible (in the same manner in which the Champions League has devalued international soccer) in the hope of diverting some or all of that enormous fan spend into the club game.

  6. toro toro

     /  January 8, 2014

    The reason the HEC has fallen apart again (and now has almost no chance of rehabilitation after next season) is down to the governing body.

    Pierre Camou, head of the FFR, had forced the French clubs to sign up to it and leave the Anglo-French thing alone. But then *he* walked out of negotiations with the rest of the (non-Anglo) parties. They wanted it to be held under the auspices of the Six Nations and ERC; he insisted that it be administered by FIRA or not at all. You can see that as a lauable commitment to growing the European game by giving Spain, Portugal, Romania, Czechy, Georgia etc. a seat at the table; or you can see that as a power-grab, given that they all have particularly close ties to the FFR, who have long resented ERC, the 6N, and the IRB all being based in Dublin. Either way, that now looks dead in the water, having been utterly triumphant as little as a week before.

    The most likely outcome now is a beefed up “Anglo-Irish” tourney which most likely *will* include the Italians, being jointly run by the GP and the Celtic League (Rabo will have dropped sponsorship by then). The French clubs and federation may be invited to participate, but they’ve a whole shit-ton of money about to come in from Canal and Al-Jazeera, so they don’t really care. Big sticking blocks there are the WRU and IRFU; the WRU have the power legally to block participation by Welsh teams, while the fact that all contracts in Ireland are with the IRFU rather than the provinces means the provinces are beholden to the Union. But the Union are aware that without a European competition the provinces will go immediately bankrupt.

    If nobody gets backed into a corner and has to shoot everything down to save face, that now looks the most likely option. But it’s a huge “if”, and there are a lot of plates in the air.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  January 8, 2014

      I’d go with laudable, on the french suggestion of governance of the game, the Celtic nations have shown no interest in growing the game, happy to be mediocre so long as the 6N is the center of the universe. Until the IRFU et show a commitment to growing the game in Europe they are just as bad as McCafferys Keith Lemonesque GP club owners.

      • toro toro

         /  January 8, 2014

        Well, sure. But either way, the Camou thing looks unresolvable. He’s not going to yield, and not ceding control to FIRA – as opposed to their own leagues/clubs – is the one thing that looks non-negotiable for the home Unions.

        • Leinsterlion

           /  January 8, 2014

          The one not talked about issue in all of this is why the old 4 nations have no qualms about potentially shafting the Italians and in all of their formulations bluster haven’t shown an ounce of interest in growing the game. The fact no Irish journos have backed Camous plan shows what “side” of the debate they are on. Its myopic in the extreme, i’d trust the FIRA over the old farts in the Unions any day, these are the morons who have:
          Run Scottish rugby into the ground.
          Destroyed Welsh non international rugby.
          Gave both EOS and Kidney contracts for non performance.
          Wanted amateurism.
          Voted against the WC, and in Ireland and Scotland case still dont rate it.
          For the game to grow club governance needs to be taken out of the hands of these dinosaurs.

          • toro toro

             /  January 8, 2014

            Italy won’t be left out in the cold, they just have no real leverage themselves. They’ll likely end up playing in whatever tournament happens, though. Assuming one does.

      • @Completebore

         /  January 8, 2014

        I can understand why the non-French unions are against the move to FIRA as it raises the possibilty of two-tier competitions with promotion and relegation, including the Six Nations, and that terrifies them. They have a great competition that makes a fortune and none of them want to risk being moved away from the trough for a year or more. But that is the only truely revolutionary and exciting possibilty that has come out of this whole mess and anything that stops short of this will feel like a cosy compromise to me.
        You can see from 7’s that, if given incentives and regular competition, countries can improve. Whereas if you’re a rugby-playing country outside of the two main cartels, what are your incentives? Two World Cups a decade where you’ll be given dreadful and possibly dangerous scheduling?
        As somebody who is a big admirer of what Irish cricket is achieving and dismayed at the nonsense being thrown in their path as they attempt to progress, I\m very excited by the notion of FIRA coming in and organising rugby in a way that allows everybody who is good enough to compete, whereas everything else just feels like looking after number one.
        BTW, I have no idea is FIRA is capable of doing this, but I’d like to see them try.

  7. Paddy

     /  January 8, 2014

    I think you’ve been sucked in by the English media lads. It’s been all doom and gloom since the RCC imploded despite Ian Ritchies attempts to save European rugby. I wouldn’t believe any of the ideas or stories being floated by them. Remember they were telling us that the RCC was going ahead and everyone was on board, remember Wray and his landlord-serf analogy. It’s all BS!

    The Anglo-Welsh League and the B+I Cup just the latest smokescreen. It helps to read between the TV deals and IRB rules.
    1)ERC have a deal with Sky to broadcast the HEC next season. 5 of the 6 unions have set out what they see that competition as and have declared that it will take place next season. It is sanctioned by all the unions and the IRB.
    2)Pro12 has a TV deal with Sky to broadcast 30 games next season. 3 of 4 of the unions own the teams competiting and the 4th has stated that it will enter teams. It’s sanctioned by all the unions and the IRB.
    3)PRL have a “super duper” (they are masters of the universe you know)deal with BT which no one else has signed up to. They have the silent support of their union which hasn’t said anything one way or the other. It is in contravention of IRB Reg 13.2 – “No Rugby Body, Club or Person or any combination thereof may negotiate or enter into or benefit from any contract for the grant of any Broadcasting Rights in respect of any Match or Matches except with the express written consent of the Union within whose territorial jurisdiction such Match is or Matches are to be played, such consent to be in the absolute discretion of the Union.”.

    Spot the odd one out.

    The PRL have said they’d take a restraint of trade case if the RCC gets quashed but IMHO that’s just them crying “It’s not fair! It’s so unfair!” rather than an actual threat. As businesses they are effectively franchises reselling a product owned by the IRB(head office). The IRB dictates what the product(rules of the game) is and how they can sell it(regulations). Those rules have been in place since before the game went open and they began pori ng money into the clubs so they can’t argue that someones shifted the goalposts. Their restraint of trade case would be like McDonalds UK claiming restraint of trade against McDonalds international because it’s stopping them from taking over McDonalds Ireland. Not a great comparison but you know what I mean.

    I can’t see the Anglo Welsh league being a runner as it would need approval from both unions and the IRB. As well as that the Chmapionship chairman has thrown the toys out of the pram on the matter(they’ve lobbied for the AP to be expanded to 14 for years) and at the very least would have to be given a very substantial pay off. I’m not sure what will come of the Welsh playing chicken but I can’t see the clubs being allowed to secede from the union and do their own thing.

    For the most part it’s the PRL whose 14/15 season is currently up in the air, they’ve just managed to convince everyone else that it’s them too. They’re telling season ticket holders that plans are in place but not telling them what the plans are:
    1) Anglo-Welsh League
    2) B+I Cup
    3) Anglo-Saffer Cup
    4) Sit the year out and maybe play with themselves

    One of these has a historical precedent.

    • One correction: they might have to sit the next THREE years out until their exclusive BT deal runs out, at which point any decent foreign players in the PRL will have left, their European ranking points will have expired, and they’ll be returning to whatever flavour of European competition in running as bottom seeds. When the WRU pony up to RRW (frankly the regions deserve it considering the money they’ve saved the WRU over the years) the PRL will be back where it was a month ago, with a massive gap in their finances and fixture list.

    • toro toro

       /  January 8, 2014

      Paddy – There will be a HEC next season; but there categorically will not be the season after.

  8. #TinkerTailorSoldierJauzion

     /  January 8, 2014


    WRT Mr Jones, I highly recommend you block him on your Twitter feeds, you’ll be pleasantly suprised how much more enjoyable the Twitter experience is without him.

  9. Len

     /  January 8, 2014

    Lads two thoughts have struck me re the Welsh. One does anyone know who owns the grounds? Is it the clubs or the WRU? Secondly we know the WRU are signed up to the P12 for three years at least but are the clubs? If the clubs are tied in directly then the AW is pure spuff. Even if there not I’m sure they’re contracted to the WRU in which case they’d be opening themselves to legal action which none of them could afford. I think the P12 could be expanded to 14 through the addition of an additional Scottish team/Italian team/an other or some combo there of. I’m still mystified by the lack of noise of any sort from the RFU and Sky.

    • Sky are keeping schtum because they’re winning while BT are spinning, I suspect. The RFU are saying nothing because they don’t want the PRL to blame them for the mess the PRL have gotten themselves into. They have bigger things to worry about, like the 80 million tournament fee for RWC 2015. No boats may be rocked.

  10. Paddy o

     /  January 8, 2014

    The entire episode just makes me realise what a good job was done when the European cup was first set up. When you see the current shenanigans, you wonder how the hell did they manage to get everyone around the table onto the same page then? I suspect it was because of a theme of shared responsibility for progress. The poison that has been injected in to European rugby by the PRL (aided by BT) is the abdication of that responsibility. They want to own the game – their words – and seem to view being outvoted by European (ex) partners as undemocratic.

    Thing is, if BT had gone through the correct channels and won the broadcast contract through ERC/unions….there wouldn’t have been an issue. I have no particular love of sky ( ok, well just Stuey Barnes admittedly) and certainly not Heineken, but why didn’t they do that? Instead they go at this thing through back doors, side doors, divide, try to conquer and sign up dodgy conflict of interest sponsorship deals. They could have “owned the game” legit, no?

    As it is, I would agree with the paddy above that it is the BT contract which is not only illegal, but has completely undermined the unity of Europe. No matter what you call any future governing body – ERC or whatever- how could you ever do business with any of these English representatives again? The mess is completely on their watch and they should suffer for that, rather than the Italians or the welsh. It sounds like the IRB are finally getting to that point now. About time.

    At this juncture, is the only way forward that championship clubs will represent the RFU in Europe next year, in an ERC-run, Heineken-sponsored competition? That would be a shame for all of us, but nothing compared to the sympathy I feel for the English club fans in the premiership who are being sold a pup by their owners and media. As for two years time, god only knows.

    Ps: Just when we doing pointless howls at the moon about Stephen jones, did anyone catch the welsh situation update recently on bbc. His stuff about Irish rugby and Connacht…..encroyable. The look he got from his fellow pundit at one point gave me a good laugh and said it all really.

    • toro toro

       /  January 9, 2014

      No, this is exactly wrong. The status quo has always been an uneasy compromise between lots of parties with lots of different agendas, entitlements, and commitments. As deals come to and end – just like every time they have in the past – those get thrown into the mix together again, and every side is fighting its own corner solely for itself. To think there was some “settled” state of European rugby which the present morass is a deviation from is tot totally misunderstand the last decade and a half of power plays.

      Exactly the same mistake is made by everybody proposing “solutions” to the problem. You misunderstand the problem hopelessly; it’s not “what is the best and fairest arrangement for European and/or World rugby?”, but “how many stakeholders are there, what do they all want, what compromises might any of them realistically acquiesce to, what do others have to give up, and is there any realistic way from here to there?”

      “We should have a setup where X happens…” is the sure sign of somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  11. Ro

     /  January 10, 2014

    It seems the main sticking point now is the two rival TV deals. ERC & Sky, PRL & BT. PRL are demanding that ERC disband, if there is no ERC there is no rival TV deal so their TV deal will take precidence. The fact the ERC Sky deal was agreed by all the Unions (including the RFU) seems irrelevant to the PRL. A solution may be the disbandment of ERC and PRL which will nullify both TV deals. Agreement throught the IRB to set up a new body to control euro rugby could then negotiate a new binding TV deal. McCafferty and the PRL press officers (Jones & Kitson) are full of bull.

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