After lengthy negotiations, agreement has been reached on a new format for three club competitions with meritocratic qualification and appropriate division of finances, with a long-term agreement and strong governance, starting next season.
Victory over London Wasps last Saturday ensured Tigers would take one of the Aviva Premiership places in next season’s inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup as the top six qualify.
Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen said: “The English and French clubs served notice that they would withdraw from the current European competitions two years ago and have come through a long journey to get to this point. We’re delighted that there is now an agreement in place and we can all see the way forward.
“The new competitions will be stronger, with just 20 teams rather than 24 in the elite European Rugby Champions Cup, and this will clearly benefit everyone – the clubs, players, supporters, broadcasters and commercial partners.
“An eight-year agreement between all parties allows the tournaments to grow in their public appeal and in commercial terms in what is a very important era for the professional game in the UK and Europe.
“There is a clear merit-based qualification process and a fair distribution of revenues in the new agreement which were two of the key issues for the Premiership clubs.
“Leicester Tigers were the only club to take part in the Heineken Cup in every season of English qualification and we look forward to the club continuing to represent English rugby in the new tournament.”
Organised by the new European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) body, the tournaments are the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and a new competition called the Qualifying Competition.
The elite European Rugby Champions Cup will comprise 20 clubs qualifying through the finishing positions in their leagues – the top six in the Aviva Premiership, top six from France’s Top 14 league and top seven from the Celtic Pro 12 league, with at least one club from each country participating in the league. The 20th place in the inaugural season will be taken by the winner of a play-off between the seventh-placed club in England and France.
All home games in the pool round of European competition are included in Leicester Tigers season tickets for 2014/15, together with 11 home games in the Aviva Premiership, two games in the pool stages of the LV= Cup and a pre-season fixture.
“We are very fortunate that we have such loyal and committed supporters as more than 12,000 of them have already purchased season tickets for 2014/15 even without knowing what the future held in European terms,” added Cohen.
“Now that there is a clear vision of what the new season has in store, we can all plan more confidently for the future and we hope many more supporters will join our ranks of season ticket holders.
“All the revenues we generate go towards resourcing and supporting the playing side which means every single supporter plays a part in the achievements of the team.”