French join rugby’s TV rights scrum

France’s Top 14 clubs are demanding a swift resolution to the schism that threatens the future of European rugby.

Negotiations between ERC stakeholders at next Tuesday’s meeting in Dublin will be of critical importance after Patrick Wolff, the vice-president of the French National Rugby League, revealed the French will 
demand immediate answers over the TV rights issue.

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The divide between warring factions grew on Wednesday when the Aviva Premiership clubs announced they had a signed an exclusive broadcast agreement with BT Vision that effectively spells the end of the Heineken Cup from 2014, with a new tournament to take its place. ERC, organisers of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup, responded by declaring only they have the power to negotiate TV rights and announced a new four-year deal with Sky.

Wolff hopes this week’s developments are just posturing and has set a December deadline for a final agreement.

“For us the most important thing is that we don’t want to waste one or two years on lawyers explaining who has the rights,” Wolff said.