Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting ENFIELD NEWS to 80360, or email us
Saracens fan Louise Warr explains why proposed alternative to Heineken Cup would be fairer and more competitive
One of the most talked about rugby topics in recent weeks has been that of the future of the Heineken Cup.
Both English and French clubs have expressed their dissatisfaction with the competition in its current form and are willing to fight for a new system for the European competition in which they believe the quality will be improved.
The proposed three-tiered system will contain 20 teams per competition and will help to expand rugby in other countries as well as promoting closer contests.
Although it would be crazy to suggest that money didn’t play a vital role as well, the Rabo Direct currently receives 52% of the revenue, a figure that other nations are far from happy about.
As much as this is about standard of competition, teams are also businesses and this has to be taken into account.
I believe that this new style of European competition will be a much fairer way of operating.
Both the English and French teams have to fight for their place in the Heineken Cup with many team’s success resting on their qualification or failure to do so.
However, this is not the case for all nations. Take Zebre, they did not win a game during their Rabo Direct Pro 12 season, finishing bottom of the table.
Yet they still have gained a place in this seasons’ Heineken Cup, in which they will face eighth-placed Rabo Direct team Connacht, Saracens and European heavyweights Toulouse.
An improved smaller competition as proposed would also help to eliminate the ‘pool lottery’.
Despite the seeding system in place to try and make the pools more even, some undoubtedly turn out more taxing than others.
Take Sarries for example, this time last year the Men in Black were pitted against French big spenders Racing Metro, European giants and former champions Munster as well as 2011/2012 semi-finalists Edinburgh.
In comparison to some other of the groups this was somewhat a ‘pool of death’.
With a more even and reduced team competition there would be less of a gap between the top and bottom ranked teams making the battles much more evenly matched.
After all, an easier pool can have a knock on effect on the rest of the team’s competition, they win more games, are seeded higher for the quarter-finals and therefore in theory, increase their chances of making the final four.
I for one am a massive fan of the Heineken Cup and the intensity the competition brings and it ending with teams refusing to join would be a major blow.
After all, how can you claim to be Europe’s finest if some of the best teams aren't testing themselves?
Leinster have already expressed their interest in joining the breakaway competition, which would only be a major asset and hopefully others will follow suit.
For now however all we can do is speculate, enjoy the Heineken Cup in its present format and see what the future may hold for club rugby in Europe.
Comments are closed on this article.