IRB will support tournaments if backed by Unions

International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset has reiterated that they
will not support any new tournaments which have not been approved by the Unions
of the teams involved.

The World governing body does not necessarily approve tournaments for teams
to play in outside of the Rugby World Cup and as long as the participating teams
Union approves the tournament the IRB will accept it.

Lapasset made his comments because the English clubs have pulled out of next season’s
Heineken Cup as they are unhappy with the qualification process and the way
the funds from the tournament are distributed.

The English clubs representative body Premiership Rugby have already found
a broadcaster for a proposed a new cross border tournament called the Rugby
Champions Cup.

Premiership Rugby have invited Welsh clubs to join them in the new tournament
as the Welsh clubs are not happy with the way the Wales Rugby Union (WRU) fund the clubs
and their participation agreements have expired.

The Welsh clubs are therefore keen to join the English clubs in a new tournament
but as it stands now they are unlikely to get backing from the WRU but England’s
RFU are expected to give the new tournament their backing.

IRB boss Lapasset said the global governing body would do all it could to help
broker an agreement.

“In order to reach an outcome that is in the best interests of Rugby
globally, the IRB will work actively with its Unions towards the goal of achieving
a unified and acceptable outcome for all stakeholders involved,” he said.

However, the Frenchman added,”In the interests of the global game, the
IRB reaffirms that it will not support any cross border competitions that are
not approved by the Unions of any participating clubs, rugby bodies and host
countries in full accordance with IRB regulations and Bye-Laws.”

There was a similar message from Rugby Football Union chairman and former
England captain Bill Beaumont.

“The RFU has been consistent in its view that our primary focus should
be to maintain a genuinely pan European tournament so rugby can continue to

“For this to be achieved, all parties need to work collaboratively, so
that everyone benefits, not least the players and supporters, who have done
so much to make European rugby so memorable.”

Beaumont added, “Rest assured I am working closely with RFU CEO Ian Ritchie,
and other stakeholders, to find a solution. “

“I welcome the support of the IRB in helping to ensure that this happens
and of course as a member union abide by and support the IRB regulations.”

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