French clubs back Heineken Cup

The Heineken Cup at the Heineken Cup Launch in Paris on November 7, 2011
© Getty Images
French clubs make a U-turn and say that they will continue to participate in the Heineken Cup.

French clubs have voted in favour of continuing to participate in the Heineken Cup despite earlier stating that they wanted a breakaway European competition.

Ligue Nationale de Rugby, the body in charge of the Top 14 clubs, and representatives of teams in the French top flight issued a statement on Thursday claiming that they would compete in the competition.

However, LNR president Paul Goze added that they will participate "on condition it will be staged with clubs from England".

The LNR's stance was opposed by the sport's governing body in France, the French Rugby Federation (FFR).

Top teams from France and England had proposed a Rugby Champions Cup and said that they would leave the European Rugby Cup Ltd-run Heineken Cup.

However, English clubs could still play in next season's Heineken Cup after Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty hinted at a U-turn for his organisation.

"If somebody outlines the structure, we could look at it," BBC Sport quotes him as saying.

"If we can see there is a new structure to replace ERC and we have the detail of that, then something might be feasible, at the moment it's all very general and difficult to comment on."

International Rugby Board's chief executive Brett Gosper added: "There is still a process in place and we're hopeful it will end with all the top teams in one competition."

Regional Rugby Wales, which oversees the four Welsh regions, is yet to make a statement.

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