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Rugby Union

English clubs to deliver uncompromising European message


The true gravity of the crisis over the future of European club rugby is likely to be laid bare on Thursday when the owners and chairmen of England’s leading professional teams gather in London to map out their vision of the future.

It is a vision that may be sufficiently radical to send governing bodies across the continent, and indeed around the world, into a tailspin.

Some of those attending the meeting, described as “the most important in a decade”, are in militant mood and will push hard for a boycott of next season’s Heineken Cup as the first step in demanding the greater commercial freedom they consider vital to the sustainability of their businesses.

Two of the most outspoken critics of the current format, the Bath owner Bruce Craig and the Saracens chairman Nigel Wray, are not thought to be willing to countenance a compromise.