Premier Rugby has made and stands by its proposals to the RFU which would provide significantly increased player release time for England and establish a platform for future international success which is vital for the whole game.
As part of these proposals, Premier Rugby is seeking that their clubs have equal shares and votes with the RFU in a new five year commitment to European competitions, to which the clubs have contributed so much success. Without this, the English clubs would otherwise be the only independent clubs not to have shares.
Premier Rugby has been negotiating for the last 16 months with its other European partners to establish a new agreement once the current one comes to an end after this season. It is a point of frustration that an agreement in principle reached in October 2006 with our European partners has so far been rejected by the RFU.
The clubs remain committed to European competition involving all the current participants. However, a European Cup without the leading French clubs is not a genuine European competition and Premier Rugby's clubs have today agreed unanimously not to participate in any such competition without the French next season.
However, on behalf of its clubs, Premier Rugby will continue to work strenuously over the next few weeks with all existing partners to find a solution leading to a genuine European competition.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.