It was agreed at last week's ERC Board meeting that ERC would facilitate the process across a range of points of difference such as the share of central revenues, qualification criteria and format. To this end, ERC is compiling a shortlist of mediators to assist in the negotiations.
ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath, said: "The involvement of all parties in ERC's make-up is as vital now as it was in the early days of the organisation. The only forum which can provide the platform for all-party negotiation under the Accord is the ERC forum and any attempt to ambush or denigrate the discussions is clearly not in the best interest of these great European tournaments.
"More than one year has passed since notice was served on the Accord and no proposal to date has received sufficient support to provide the basis for progress. This should not be seen as insurmountable, as agreement on European tournaments has always required compromise with an acceptance that no party will secure everything on their wish-list.
"The only way we ever made progress in previous Accord negotiations was by serious engagement on the part of all ERC decision-makers. The same positive approach is required now and it is hoped that all signatories to the Accord will dedicate their energy to the renewed process."
- The Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments are owned and run by ERC, a company set up by the six main European unions which is recognised by the IRB as the organiser of the pre-eminent cross-border club competitions in Northern hemisphere rugby.
- ERC is run by an executive based in Dublin with a mandate from the company's Board which is made up of club and union representatives from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Wales and Scotland.
- ERC's tournaments have generated half-a-billion euro (€500 million) for the professional game through distribution from ERC's central funds.