ERC begin cup consultation
The ERC have confirmed they are to begin talks with all stakeholders over a review of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.
Last Updated: 01/06/12 8:31pm
The ERC have confirmed that Premiership Rugby, the FFR and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby have asked for a review of the current structure of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.
The governing body for the two competitions will now start a consultation process of the current Shareholder Agreement.
The Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby, the FFR, the LNR, the IRFU, the Italian Federation, the Scottish Rugby Union, the Welsh Rugby Union and Regional Rugby Wales signed the current agreement in 2007.
However part of that agreement allowed stakeholders to seek a renegotiation after five years, although they have to give two years' notice - so no changes can happen before 2014.
It is believed that the clubs from France and England are unhappy with the current qualification criteria which they feel favours the RaboDirect PRO12 clubs.
England and France want a new system where the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup champions along with top-six sides from each of the three domestic competitions qualify for the top-tier tournament.
The 18 sides left over from the Top 14, Premiership and RaboDirect PRO12 would go into the Amlin Challenge Cup along with two qualifiers from a newly-formed tournament.
Teams from the likes of Spain, Romania, Georgia and Russia would compete in the new-look third-tier format.
A statement from the ERC read: "ERC can confirm that a consultation process involving all its stakeholders will commence shortly following formal applications by the Federation Francaise de Rugby, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby and Premiership Rugby for a review of the ERC Shareholder Agreement which provides the structure for European club rugby's two tournaments, the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup."