19 May, 13:05
Following the signing of the 2007 Accord, the Board of ERC directed a Working Party, made up of representatives of Clubs, Unions and the ERC Executive, to develop a merit-based ranking system to reward consistent European performance. The ERC European Rankings aim to reward and incentivise clubs who consistently perform at the highest level in European competition over four seasons by separating the leading clubs in the pool stages.
The competing clubs will continue to qualify through their domestic tournaments and will then, for the purposes of the Pool Draws, be awarded different points for their finishing positions in the two ERC organised competitions, the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, over the previous four seasons.
Clubs can earn between one to 11 points each season in the Heineken Cup and up to six points in the Amlin Challenge Cup to go towards their four season roll-over ERC European Rankings.
Potential Points Earned Each Season (Ranking Based on Four Seasons)
|Heineken Cup||Points||Total Points|
|Second in Pool||3|
|3rd in Pool||2|
|4th in Pool||1|
|Amlin Challenge Cup||ACC clubs||Total||Heineken Cup clubs||Total|
*Points earned from second-place finish in the Heineken Cup pool stage
For the Heineken Cup Pool Draw, the rankings will establish four tiers of six clubs each with the reigning Heineken Cup champions automatically going into Tier 1 along with Europe's other most successful clubs.
The draw, which is scheduled to take place in June, will distribute one club from each of the four tier levels into each of the six pools. No clubs from the same country will be drawn in the same pool with the exception of when there are seven clubs qualified from either England or France.
Under the system, irrespective of qualification for the knockout stages, all clubs will be incentivised to finish in the highest possible position in the Heineken Cup. And progress through to the knockout stages of theAmlin Challenge Cup will also carry extra value and be of major importance for those emerging clubs as they attempt to climb the European ladder.