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European clubs seek Six Nations meeting.

EUROPEAN clubs' representatives will seek urgent talks with Six Nations bosses following this week's decision to condense the championship from 2003.

The Euro Pro-Rugby Club Association (EPRCA), representing professional leagues of England, France, Wales, Italy and Spain, met in Madrid yesterday.

The Irish provinces and Scottish districts were also invited and have now started the process of becoming EPRCA associate members.

The 2003 Six Nations Championship will be shortened from 10 weeks to seven, but EPRCA want talks with tournament organisers and European Rugby Cup chiefs about the northern hemisphere's season structure relating to European, national and domestic competitions.

EPRCA also intend announcing a Europe-wide player salary cap from season 2002-03, based on England's current pounds 1.8m-per-year model.

"Exact levels and detailed rules will be reviewed to take account of the relevant member countries' own laws and tax rates, " said EPRCA, in a statement.

"The objective is to establish a maximum level of squad cap to apply to each country which, subject to national tax rates, are consistent with those in England."

The organisation also want meetings with the northern hemisphere unions and the International Rugby Board to try to establish an insurance system whereby players are properly protected while on international duty.

"Unions would enter into agreed insurance policies to properly insure the player during international duty for the benefit of both the club - who release the player - and the player himself, " they added.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 15, 2001
Words:236
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