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    No boycott by English clubs

    No boycott by English clubs.
    <DIV =LeadPara>England's leading clubs will not follow the French in boycotting next season's Heineken European Cup but will next week call for the number of Premiership sides in the tournament to be increased. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>The organisers of the cup meet next week to decide the format of next season's tournament. The absence of the French clubs would reduce television revenue by some £5 million, and Premier Rugby believes a greater English presence would do more to soften the shortfall than inviting sides like Bucharest to make up the numbers. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The 14 French clubs which make up the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) met the president of the French Rugby Federation, Bernard Lapasset, yesterday to discuss how the boycott could be averted. Lapasset will fly to London today for a meeting with leading Rugby Football Union officials, armed with a message from LNR that the French clubs will remain in the fold only if Twickenham agrees at next week's meeting of ERC Ltd that clubs should be given greater shares and voting rights. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The RFU has so far refused to budge on the issue while the other unions on ERC have accepted a move which would give French, English and Italian clubs a greater say in how the European Cup and the European Challenge Cup were run commercially. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>There is a perception on the ERC board that the French clubs are looking for a face-saving way to end their boycott threat, having failed to secure a television deal for their league as lucrative as they had envisaged last January when they announced they were pulling out of the European Cup. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The clubs look as if they will be £5 million to £6 million out of pocket next season, a sum they would make up if they remained in Europe, but the RFU is highly unlikely to shift its position, especially as its talks with Premier Rugby over a new agreement covering the management of elite players have stalled. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>ERC has released the official list of additional players registered for the knock-out stages of the European Cup, starting with next weekend's four quarter-finals. Munster's squad has been bolstered by Brian Carney, hooker Denis Fogarty and secondrow Donnacha Ryan while Leinster plumped for Jonathan Sexton, Ireland under-20 scrumhalf Paul O'Donohue and prop Fosi Pala'amo. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Northampton have added Derry-born Seamus Mallon, who returns to Ulster in the summer, while Stade Francais have named Argentinian prop Juan Gomez as one of their three players. Gomez, a prop, was being pursued by Leinster and is believed to have signed a heads of agreement deal that would see him agree a two-year contract during the summer. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Biarritz Olympique: Gaston De Robertis, Thibault Duvallet, Denis Lison . </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Leicester Tigers: Matthew Smith. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Leinster: Fosi Pala'amo, Paul O'Donoghue, Jonathan Sexton. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Llanelli Scarlets: No additional players. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>London Wasps: Chris Bishay, Ayoola Erinle. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Munster: Brian Carney, Denis Fogarty, Donnacha Ryan. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Northampton: John Brooks, Christian Labit, Seamus Mallon. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Stade Francais: Frans Viljoen, Juan Gomez. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas></DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>
    <DIV =TailParas>(c) 2007, The Irish Times. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Irish Times</DIV></DIV>
    Seas suas agus troid!

    Saw this on another forum........ which was lifted from the Guardian in the UK.....

    @@@@SPAN style="font-style: italic;" ="post">@@@@SPAN style="font-weight: bold;">RFU will go to court if clubs wreck Heineken Cup@@@@/SPAN>

    Paul Rees

    Wednesday March 28, 2007

    The Guardian

    The Rugby Football Union will take legal action if the 12 Premiership
    clubs next week vote to join France in boycotting next season's
    Heineken Cup, a move which would effectively wreck the 12-year old

    Premier Rugby is meeting on Monday to consider its position in
    Europe after Twickenham last week rejected a compromise formula which
    would have dissuaded the leading French clubs from going ahead with the
    boycott threat they first made two months ago. The clubs believe they
    would not be in breach of the long-form agreement they have with the
    RFU, which requires them to play in the two European club competitions,
    on the grounds that a French withdrawal would materially affect their

    But the RFU's management board chairman, Martyn Thomas, said last
    night: "The clubs are contracted to be in Europe for the next two
    years. There is no loophole and we expect them to honour their

    "The last thing we want, after months of negotiations on a new
    agreement on the management of elite players and a stronger
    relationship between the RFU and Premier Rugby, is to go back to court,
    but we would have no choice: there is no point in signing an agreement
    if one of the two sides is not prepared to be bound by it. We cannot
    have the game throughout the world being held to ransom by 26 clubs."

    The talks over the future management of elite players have stalled
    over compensation. The union wants to deal with clubs individually,
    paying the entire salaries of the players they provide to the 32-strong
    England squad, which would mean scrutinising their books, while Premier
    Rugby wants to receive a lump sum for distribution.

    "At the moment, we pay £1m in compensation for the elite-player
    scheme," said Thomas. "The clubs want us to hand over £6.4m more and in
    return we would get the November internationals and Six Nations
    blocked. That is hardly a good deal from our point of view. We believe
    the elite players should be managed by the England head coach and we
    are prepared to pay the clubs fully for that."

    In Premier Rugby's terms for a settlement the French would return
    to the Heineken Cup if the RFU agreed to hand over half its shares on
    European Rugby Cup Ltd to Premier Rugby.

    "We said only last week we would do that if we had a guarantee
    that, if we had not signed a new agreement with Premier Rugby, we would
    have the shares back," said Thomas. "That was not forthcoming and
    during the talks Premier Rugby talked about breaking away and playing
    in an Anglo-French league. How can we hand over shares to them on that

    He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.