English clubs to miss Heineken Cup

England's clubs will be missing from next season's Heineken Cup after confirming that they will not participate in any competition run by European Rugby Cup.

Owners and chief executives from all 12 Aviva Premiership teams met on Thursday to discuss the decision by their French counterparts to abandon the breakaway Rugby Champions Cup.

Under pressure from its union, Ligue Nationale de Rugby - representing the Top 14 - last week committed to the ERC-run format announced by the unions for the 2014-15 season.

Premiership Rugby announced it is now "pursuing other options".

"ERC does not structurally recognise the role of the leagues and clubs in driving the success of club competitions, under the overall governance of Unions," a statement released by Premiership Rugby read.

"The ERC voting structure is controlled by Unions even though the majority of commercial value is created by the independent clubs which represent 75 per cent of the participants.

"Proposals put forward to address a new structure within a Rugby Champions Cup were agreed by a majority of the unions in October, alongside meritocratic competition formats and equitable financial distributions. However, these have not been accepted by all.

"The English clubs have worked exhaustively over the last 18 months to propose solutions to the issues with the current European competitions and to provide a sustainable platform to grow the game in the various countries.

"The English clubs are now pursuing other options."

PRL chief executive Mark McCafferty insists the Premiership clubs, armed with their lucrative broadcasting deal with BT Sport, are seeking a permanent rather than stop-gap solution.

"The clubs are financially in a better position next season than they are for the 2013-14 season because of our domestic TV deal and other uplifts in revenue we have in place," McCafferty said.

"Financially 2014-15 has never been an issue. The clubs don't have to focus on short-term solutions, they want a solution for the longer term.

"We have a busy six or seven weeks ahead of us and we'll probably call the clubs back in mid-January to take the next phase of decisions.

"Some of the possibilities have been speculated on, some haven't. There are options with pluses and minuses."

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