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Heineken Cup breakaway confirmed

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Sportal.co.nz     25 Sep 2013     Getty Images

The IRB are still to respond to the announcement, which came after negotiations to re-vamp the Heineken Cup fell though.

"It is now confirmed that the competition will be named the Rugby Champions Cup," a statement read.

"The competition will be based on the principles of qualification on merit, a strong competition format, equality between the leagues, higher commercial values for the teams and expansion into new European markets.

"The Top 14 and Premiership Rugby clubs have already confirmed their participation in the new competition and a joint working group has been created to prepare all necessary elements in good time for the 2014-15 season."

The English and French clubs also declared they are no longer interested in dealing with European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC), the organisers of both the Heineken Cup and the second tier Amlin Challenge Cup.

The ERC management board is dominated by representatives from those unions that compete in the existing tournaments and the English and French leagues are determined to see that power switch to the clubs although any new cross-border competition requires the approval of the respective unions and the International Rugby Board.

ERC has scheduled a fresh round of negotiations for October 23 and more recently announced the appointment of an independent mediator but this latest move suggests the English and French clubs are determined to push on with their own plans.

However, they insist the Rugby Champions Cup will be open to teams from all three leagues in Europe - the Premiership, the Top 14 and the PRO12 - and Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty insists they have already been approached by other sides.