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France Télévisions only interested in ‘official’ club rugby competition

Daniel Bilalian, the director of sport at France Télévisions, has said that the public-service broadcaster would only be prepared to show an officially-recognised European rugby union competition.

France Télévisions has free-to-air rights for the Heineken Cup, the top European club competition, in a four-year deal with European Rugby Cup (ERC), the tournament’s operator. The agreement will expire at the end of the current 2013-14 season.

English clubs have refused to commit to playing in the Heineken Cup beyond the end of this season. French clubs performed a u-turn by agreeing to stay in the tournament after initially pledging to join the English teams in a breakaway competition, but the future structure of the Heineken Cup remains unclear.

“We will only show an officially-recognised competition,” Bilalian told French newspaper l’Equipe. “We would be sure to question the value of such a competition [that does not include English clubs].”