David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images There is hope for the Heineken Cup yet.

FFR offers clubs €2 million each to play in Heineken Cup – report

Pierre Camou, the president of the FFR, apparently held a meeting with representatives of the Top 14 sides last week.

A REPORT IN rugby newspaper Midi Olympique claims that the FFR (Fédération Française de Rugby) has offered the French clubs €2 million each to commit to playing in the Heineken Cup next season.

Pierre Camou, the president of the FFR, apparently chaired a secret meeting last Tuesday at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in France, which was attended by representatives of the Top 14 clubs, as well as several of their English counterparts.

From the outset of the announcement of plans for the Rugby Champions Cup, Camou has been strongly in opposition. This report suggests that Camou has now “raised his voice” to directly inform the French clubs that he is unhappy with their plans. The FFR chief is insistent that any European competition next season will continue to be governed by the ERC (European Rugby Cup).

According to Midi Olympique, the FFR is now ready to ensure that happens by delivering a payment of up to €2 million to each of the French clubs. Camou has reportedly also proposed the idea of signing any individual players who wish to continue playing in the Heineken Cup onto central federal contracts with the FFR, similar to what the IRFU does with its star players.

Camou is insistent that what the French clubs are planning to do in breaking away to form the Rugby Champions Cup is completely in contravention of the existing French rugby laws. When the plans for the RCC were first announced, the FFR were swift to remind the LNR (Ligue National de Rugby) that they had no right to organise a competition without the direct consent of both the FFR and the IRB (International Rugby Board).

Paul Goze, the LNR president, has repeatedly dismissed that notion in his dealings with the media over the last two months, but Camou reiterated his feelings at last week’s private meeting in Paris. The refusal of the French and English clubs to even consider the ERC’s recent concessions has seen Camou step into the picture with more decisiveness.

If this report is indeed true, it is good news for the ERC and for the IRFU, who are hoping that the Heineken Cup will continue next season. It is understood that Camou has support from several of the individual French clubs, including Toulon and Biarritz. This reported financial incentive may attract more of the other clubs onto the FFR’s side, and could result in the ERC surviving.

– Originally published at 12.54

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