THE two-year disagreement over the future of European club rugby has been resolved after an agreement over a new tournament structure was signed.
The 20-team Champions Cup will be the showpiece event of European Professional Club Rugby, the newly-established Switzerland-based organisers.
Beneath the premier tournament will be the European Rugby Challenge Cup and a new competition called the Qualifying Competition.
The Champions Cup will be made up of seven teams from the RaboDirect Pro12 – the top finishers from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy plus three more on merit – and six from both the Top 14 and Aviva Premiership.
Next season’s 20th place will go to the winner of a playoff between the seventh-placed teams in England and France.
From 2015 there will be a four-team playoff for the final berth featuring two teams from the Pro12.
The winner of the Rugby Challenge Cup – which will feature the rest of the clubs from the Pro12, Top 14 and Aviva Premiership plus a pair of clubs from tier two nations – will be in the playoffs if they haven’t already secured a spot in the Champions Cup.