PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
At a meeting of the Celtic League Association today, in London, the Welsh Rugby Union informed the Irish and Scottish Rugby Unions that the Welsh professional clubs have signed an agreement to participate in a new Anglo-Welsh Cup which results in five prime weekends in the season being unavailable for Celtic League.
As a consequence, it has not been possible to construct a mutually acceptable Celtic League competition for season 2005-06.
The Scottish and Irish Rugby Unions are disappointed that the Welsh Rugby Union did not consult its partners in the Celtic League prior to making commitments to the Anglo-Welsh Cup, given the serious negative consequences it has on the Celtic League.
It is hoped that discussions may continue between the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Rugby Unions along with the Italian Rugby Federation to structure a new competition in season 2006 - 07 which would incorporate four Irish teams, three Scottish teams, four Italian teams and four Welsh teams.
In the meantime, for season 2005 - 06 Ireland and Scotland will structure a cross-border competition to commence in September, 2005. It is proposed that this will be a 12-game, home and away league competition with qualification for European and a Cup competition, the details of which are to be finalised.