Rugby - Wheeler sees things differently

Leicester executive director and Premiership Rugby's board member at European Rugby Cup, Peter Wheeler, is puzzled by the contents of the statement released by the ERC on Wednesday.

PA Sport
Rugby - Wheeler sees things differently
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Peter Wheeler was a representative of the Aviva Premiership clubs at a meeting in Dublin

ERC suggested that during a meeting of directors in Dublin a common ground had been established with the English and French clubs, who had announced they would set up their own European competition, over the future of the Heineken Cup.

Among the attendees were Wheeler, representative of the Premiership clubs, and his counterpart at France's Ligue Nationale de Rugby, Rene Bouscatel.

The ERC statement was headlined "all parties reaffirm commitment to ERC negotiations", but Wheeler left Ireland with a different perspective on the talks.

"In support of the personal statement made yesterday by Rene Bouscatel, I too was surprised by the press statement issued after the meeting on September 11 of the board of ERC, of which I am a member," Wheeler said.

"I would make the following points about the content of this statement.

"No decision was made by the ERC board to reiterate that European club rugby competitions must necessarily be organised by ERC.

"Secondly, concerning the proposal of some of this board to organise a meeting of the stakeholders, it is the sole right of the individual parties (unions and league organisations) to take a view on any such proposal."

Premiership Rugby and LNR served notice last year of their desire to quit the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup when the existing tournament accord expires next summer.

They want changes to the structure of both continental competitions, principally over the number of teams involved, the qualifying process and how funds are distributed.

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