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INPHO/James Crombie The Heineken and Amlin Cups: will they still be around in 2014?
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ERC invites everyone back to Dublin to sort out Heineken Cup mess
ERC wants to find “a negotiated solution to the current impasse” on 23 October.

THE ERC HOPES to kick-start negotiations aimed at saving the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups at a meeting in Dublin next month.

Tournament bosses today issued an invitation to all stakeholders “with the ultimate objective of finding a negotiated solution to the current impasse.”

The meeting, which comes amid fears that the English and French clubs will press ahead with plans for a breakaway tournament in 2014/2015, will take place on 23 October.

At a meeting in Dublin last week the ERC committed to negotiations on the major points of disagreement — revenue shares, qualification criteria and tournament format — and will now bring in mediators to assist in the process.

“The involvement of all parties in ERC’s make-up is as vital now as it was in the early days of the organisation”, ERC chief executive Derek McGrath said in a statement as he called for a positive approach.

“The only forum which can provide the platform for all-party negotiation under the Accord is the ERC forum and any attempt to ambush or denigrate the discussions is clearly not in the best interest of these great European tournaments.

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“More than one year has passed since notice was served on the Accord and no proposal to date has received sufficient support to provide the basis for progress.

“This should not be seen as insurmountable, as agreement on European tournaments has always required compromise with an acceptance that no party will secure everything on their wish-list.

“The only way we ever made progress in previous Accord negotiations was by serious engagement on the part of all ERC decision-makers.

“The same positive approach is required now and it is hoped that all signatories to the Accord will dedicate their energy to the renewed process.”

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