Gloucester chairman Ryan Walkinshaw tips Heineken Cup resolution to boost Premiership club coffers
CEMENTING a future for the Heineken Cup could help more Premiership clubs achieve financial stability, believes Gloucester chairman Ryan Walkinshaw.
Walkinshaw is hopeful Premiership Rugby and Heineken Cup organisers can end their impasse over television rights and tournament make-up.
Gloucester’s co-owner is proud of his club’s status as one of just three Premiership sides in the black.
But he believes Premier Rugby’s preferred Heineken Cup outcome would help two more top-flight English clubs to register profit.
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English and French clubs have long since signalled their intent not to agree a new deal with European Rugby Cup (ERC) when the current contract expires at the end of the season.
Premiership Rugby and ERC have been at loggerheads over contrasting TV deals, with the English clubs adamant their agreement with BT Sport to host European action holds firm.
Walkinshaw remains confident of resolution, explaining how he feels the Premiership can benefit from the BT Sport cash injection.
He said: “What happens moving forward with Europe is still a big priority.
“There are lots of different variables, but we are making good progress.
“But that’s got a big impact on all our businesses moving forward.
“If we do manage to come to our preferred solution in the Heineken Cup, then I think the numbers that the clubs would get would be significant.
“Two more Premiership clubs would also be in the black after the distribution of funds.
“So you would end up with five clubs that are self-sufficient rather than three.
“That can only be good for the sport.
“Everything is being discussed, tournament structure, qualification and distribution of funds.
“All the English clubs want the situation resolved as quickly as possible, and so do the French.
“Ideally we’d like the Heineken Cup to continue, and hopefully we can reach 2015 with a very similar tournament.”