Sports letter: Bubbles have burst

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The Independent Online

What a shame that self-interest has ruined an incredibly exciting and potential mass appeal sporting event - I refer, of course, to the European rugby cup.

Last year the battle between the best of England and France - Bath versus Brive - produced drama, exposure and patriotic fervour in equal measure. Surely, it was just what the money men behind the top English clubs wanted.

Rugby has never been, and will never be, as high-profile as soccer, but this competition certainly raised awareness of the sport and was promising to bring crowds flooding through the turnstiles.

Unfortunately, the intransigent club bosses have killed the goose that was capable of incubating the golden egg - and, whatever else follows, I wonder whether it will have the same impact or recover the same impetus.

What we, the rugby-loving public, are left with is a shadow competition and a few domestic squabbles in the Allied Dunbar League. To be honest, having tasted champagne, who wants to go back to plain old fizzy plonk?


Bradley Stoke,