Top English, French Rugby Clubs Confirm Breakaway Competition

England and France’s top rugby clubs confirmed plans for a breakaway European tournament to start next season, after efforts to change to the current Heineken Cup competition failed.

England’s Premiership Rugby and France’s Ligue Nationale de Rugby released a joint statement today saying that the new tournament, called the Rugby Champions Cup, will be open to clubs from other European nations.

“The competition will be based on the principles of qualification on merit, a strong competition format, equality between the leagues, higher commercial values for the teams and expansion into new European markets,” the clubs said.

The rugby world has been waiting for concrete details on the new tournament ever since the English and French first announced their proposal in a Sept. 10 statement, which said that negotiations with Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy to overhaul the Heineken Cup were at an end.

Today’s statement sheds little light on the breakaway competition apart from its name and to announce a joint working group “to prepare all necessary elements in good time for the 2014-15 season.”

Further information about the competition’s format and commercial details will be made public next month, the clubs added in the statement.

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