Breakaway rugby championship seeks a better deal
The breakaway Anglo-French rugby championship will take on the established rival European tournament, the Heineken Cup, by being more democratic and a "better deal", the chairman of one of the sport's top teams told CNBC.
England's Premiership Rugby and France's Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) announced the new championship, the Rugby Champions Cup, last month in the latest move in a long-running drive to exit the Heineken Cup, which the leagues criticized for uneven revenue distribution and unfair qualification process of the current system.
"When people say it is not about the money, what they always mean is that it's about the money. And it is because the English and the French clubs by definition provide most of the revenue because they are the large population masses, and don't get most of the revenue," Nigel Wray, Chairman of the Saracens rugby club told CNBC.
The two rugby bodies said in a statement last month said that the new championship would be open to clubs from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Wray told CNBC that the Rugby Champions Cup will yield "more money for everybody" and is "just a better deal".
(Read more: What can top execs learn from soccer bosses?)
England and France operate their own independent domestic leagues, which under the current deal, receive 24 percent each of revenues from the Heineken Cup.
Clubs from the other four nations - Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – compete in one league called the Pro12 and split the remaining 52 percent.
England's Premiership clubs and teams in France's league, called the Top 14, says this is unfair as money should be split equally between the three leagues. This is what the Anglo-French rugby bodies hope to achieve.
"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," Premiership Rugby and LNR said in a statement.
The European Rugby Cup, organisers of the Heineken Cup, has scheduled negotiations to thrash out the details of the new tournament on October 23.