4 New Square’s Graeme Mew has been appointed to mediate the ongoing dispute regarding the future of the Heineken Cup, European rugby’s leading club competition.
The fall-out arises out of the top English and French clubs’ refusal to play in the tournament, and the associated second tier competition, the Amlin Challenge Cup, from next season because of what they perceive as unfair qualifying criteria where Scottish, Welsh and Irish clubs are concerned. There is also discontent about the existing arrangements for the sharing of the financial proceeds of the competitions.
The European Rugby Cup, which organises the existing competitions, Premiership Rugby, which represents England’s leading clubs and the Rugby Football Union have all been heavily involved in negotiations so far, as have been representatives of the French, Scottish, Irish and Welsh unions and their respective clubs. The difficulties in resolving the disagreement have been the subject of significant media coverage.
With the problem appearing intractable, Graeme has been appointed to try to bring the parties together to reach a consensus. He is a vastly experienced mediator, both in the commercial and sports sectors. He is also a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He has arbitrated and mediated numerous high profile sports disputes in the past, including recently sitting as an appeal judge on the James Horwill case during the British Lions tour to Australia earlier this year.
See the ERC announcement here.