Future of Heineken Cup still uncertain amid deadlock

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THE FUTURE of the Heineken European Cup remains in the balance today after stakeholders failed to reach agreement on a new format at a meeting in London.

Rabo Direct Pro 12 teams, including Edinburgh, are resisting calls from Anglo/French clubs that they have to qualify and give up automatic entry.

By apparently failing to split the two countries with thriving domestic competitions – France were being offered the chance to bring the later stages of their tournament forward – it seems rival bodies are now more entrenched.

Reports today suggest that the French and English might even compete in a new tournament alongside teams linked to Argentinian pro rugby and based in Spain and while that might seem far-fetched, the threat to Scottish pro rugby is extremely real.

Without the Heineken Cup for both Edinburgh and Glasgow, the domestic focus may switch back to bolstered traditional clubs whose highpoint is the British and Irish Cup.

The international team would come mainly from English and French clubs who have infinitely more spending power to buy up Celtic talent.

The European Rugby Cup board next meet on February 6.