- Ian Ritchie and Bill Beaumont react to European resolution
- Pair delighted for players and fans alike
Ian Ritchie and Bill Beaumont are both relieved that the future of European club competition has been resolved and say the outcome will be of universal benefit to everyone involved with England Rugby.
Having worked with BT Sport and Sky Sports in the past, RFU CEO Ritchie was a key figure in brokering the shared broadcast proposal that was crucial to the formation of three new cross-border tournaments as replacements for the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup from next season.
Adopting a wide-reaching perspective on the matter, he explained that the outcome would appease fans and continue to prime Stuart Lancaster’s players for Test rugby.
“It’s been very time-consuming for a lot of people,” said Ritchie just before Monday’s media briefing, which marked the end of a six-month impasse between the nine stakeholders. “I think it’s been time well spent because the end result is positive.
Photo: Getty Images
“I’m delighted for the fans, the players, all the clubs and everybody else. It’s been worth going through a little bit of pain on the way there.
“Stuart [Lancaster] is happy, too. He and the players recognise the importance of European club rugby. That’s true from a playing point of view but it’s also true for the fans and the economics of English rugby as well.”
RFU Chairman Bill Beaumont was another influential figure, and outlined his role alongside Ritchie.
“We’ve just tried to be open and honest and act in the best interest of European rugby,” he added. “It is in nobody’s interest not to have a fully-fledged pan-European competition.
“It’s important for rugby folk. If you’re a season ticket-holder at Leicester or Northampton, you’ve had a diet of European rugby. You’ve had some great European nights. We were conscious of that and we didn’t want to lose it.
“It’s also a different adventure for the players. You go abroad and sample what rugby is like there – Toulon and Clermont are fantastic places to go and test yourself. It’s good for English rugby, European rugby and I’m looking forward to it.”