Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
RUGBY: Bath owner Craig's warning over European rugby
4:09pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Sport
BATH chairman Bruce Craig has given a stark warning to Celtic clubs over their financial future if rugby administrators try to thwart the new Rugby Champions Cup.
Crraig, who is also Premiership Rugby's deputy chairman, has warned the Pro12 clubs in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy that they faced "financial oblivion'' if the new competition proposed by English and French clubs is not approved.
Craig helped to set up the event for the 2014-15 season which is intended to replace the Heineken Cup, which he declared as "finished'' and told BBC Sport: "“If the (new) competition is not approved then that would have absolutely catastrophic implications for Celtic rugby ”
"Celtic teams would be without significant revenues."
He added: "The Rugby Champions Cup is a way to save European rugby."
The Celtic and Italians clubs have been invited to take part in the new competition and Craig believes national unions and the International Rugby Board (IRB) could face court action if they attempt to stop the Rugby Champions Cup.
"If all 38 [European] clubs were actually given the opportunity to come into the Rugby Champions Cup, I believe all 38 would probably agree," said Craig.
"It's basically the Celtic unions that would stop them from participating.
"Everyone would prefer that we didn't go down the legal route. We all want a competition that is a fabulous European competition.
"The reality though is that if there was to be a blockage there are obvious questions around restraint of trade. This new Champions Cup would generate in the region of 60 to 70 million Euros minimum, which would actually cut out a big percentage of the English and the French clubs' losses."
"At the moment, for the 2014-15 season there is no European rugby. This competition is one in which all the clubs are invited to play and there will be an equal distribution of money on a per team basis.
"The reality of it is that if the Rugby Champions Cup doesn't happen, then the Celts will not be playing in a competition and they won't have those distributions from that competition.
"People say the English and French clubs are greedy. The fact is we are losing money.
"In terms of sustainability and the future of the game, this is an opportunity for us to increase revenues into the English and French club game which gives it more viability. The unions should be approving that so there is continuity in English, French and Celtic rugby, because if there is isn't there would be financial oblivion for the Celtic countries."
MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
Comments are closed on this article.