Saints chief executive Robson believes European competition deal is close

Allan Robson
Allan Robson

Saints chief executive Allan Robson believes the formation of a new European competition for next season is ‘a whisker away’.

He says all parties are close to reaching an agreement, which will see the Heineken Cup replaced by a tournament named the Rugby Champions Cup from next season.

As it stands, the Rugby Football Union is said to be leading discussions to set up a competition run by the Six Nations committee rather than European Rugby Cup (ERC).

Only the French federation is opposing the idea, but Robson believes the situation will soon be resolved, with a new era beckoning in European rugby.

“I am confident,” said Robson, who is Northampton’s representative among the 12 Aviva Premiership clubs.

“I’ve been pretty confident right from the outset, despite the fact we got to a pretty negative position.

“That’s because what we’re saying makes sense.

“The English and French teams have said, right from the outset, that it makes total sense for all of us – not just the English and the French, but the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Italians – because if we don’t have any competition at all it doesn’t make sense for anyone.

“We are but a whisker away from getting an agreement here.”

But with the power struggle ongoing and issues still to be resolved, how can Robson be so confident?

“I have been part of the decision-making processes as part of the route we should look to follow and the way we take to get to our objectives,” he said.

“Of course, much as I’m not carrying that out on a day-to-day basis, I’m kept apprised of where things are every so often.

“My statement comes with an insider’s knowledge that most people don’t have, and an understanding of all the nuances of the argument and all the advantages and disadvantages of various routes.

“You all stand up and say ‘come on, it doesn’t make any sense for us not to get something on, a compromised position’.

“Some people have got to compromise to get it, because we all come from different angles. But there’s a solution here for us all to get 95 per cent of what we’re looking for.”