Scottish Rugby Welcomes Heineken Cup Commitment

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Gordon McKie has tonight expressed cautious optimism that the row threatening the future of European rugby's flagship knockout professional tournament has been resolved. European Rugby Cup issued a statement this afternoon whereby all parties reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term future of the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup.Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Gordon McKie has tonight expressed cautious optimism that the row threatening the future of European rugby's flagship knockout professional tournament has been resolved.

European Rugby Cup issued a statement this afternoon whereby all parties reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term future of the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup.

The full statement read: "An ERC Shareholders meeting took place in Dublin today (Tuesday, 8 May) with IRB Chairman Dr. Syd Millar, which included representatives from the six Shareholder Unions and representatives from the Club bodies from England (PRL), France (LNR), Italy (LIRE) and Wales (Welsh Regions).

"All parties reaffirmed their commitment to the long term future of the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup and to providing a stable future for both ERC tournaments.

"The parties reached a conditional agreement, which, on completion of discussions between RFU and PRL over the next two weeks, will ensure the long term future of both European tournaments and the participation of the leading teams from all six competing nations. All parties are working towards a final agreement by the weekend of the Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday, 20 May.

"It was confirmed that the participant teams will be Club / Provincial / Regional teams from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and in the case of England, France and Italy, Club teams from the top professional leagues in each country.

"In attendance at today's meeting were:
IRB (Dr. Syd Millar & Mike Miller)
ERC (Jean-Pierre Lux & Derek McGrath)
FFR (Pierre Camou, Bernard Lapasset & Michel Palmie)
LNR (Serge Blanco)
FIR (Orazio Arancio)
LIRE (Sandro Manzoni)
IRFU (Peter Boyle & Philip Browne)
RFU (Terry Burwell & Martyn Thomas)
PRL (Mark McCafferty & Tom Walkinshaw)
SRU (George Jack & Allan Munro)
WRU (Roger Lewis)
Welsh Regions (Stuart Gallacher)."

Gordon McKie said: "Scottish Rugby welcomes today's news that a conditional agreement has been reached with regard to the long-term future of the Heineken Cup and the European Challenge Cup.

"Scottish Rugby looks forward to a satisfactory outcome to the discussions between the RFU and PRL over the next two weeks."