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Top 14 demand 8 Champions Cup places as boycott threat looms

The French Top 14 have entered a game of chicken with European club rugby chiefs over their allot...

The French Top 14 have entered a game of chicken with European club rugby chiefs over their allotment of places in the Heineken Champions Cup.

While this year's competition remains on pause ahead of the quarter-finals, thoughts have already begun to turn to next season.

This season's Top 14 was abandoned with nine games of the regular season remaining and no champions crowned.

France have had six entrants to the Champions Cup for each of the last three seasons, and club presidents are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss next season's allocation.

Midi Olympique report that if they are not granted an additional two spots for next term then they will consider walking away from the competition.

When the season was brought to a sudden close, Toulouse sat outside the playoff places in 7th position with Montpellier in 8th.

An altering of the Champions Cup format was already in the air, but it had been thought that the competition could contract from 20 to 18 teams.

However, with the manner in which seasons have been forced to end in England and France, things could swing the other way and a 24-team competition be green lit.

The Top 14 have met with some resistance to a proposed expansion from both the Guinness PRO14 and the Gallagher Premiership.

In a working document on May 1, the Top 14's governing body - the LNR - wrote, "This request has not so far been accepted and requires unanimous agreement from EPCR members".

"We have particularly attractive formats available to us to do it. We will adapt in the common interest," EPCR president Vincent Gaillard told Midi Olympique.

Gaillard then told RMC Sport, "It seems to me that a boycott threat would be perfectly counterproductive."

A boycott would also seem unlikely as Heineken Champions Cup participation is worth millions to the clubs involved.

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Epcr France Guinness Pro14 Heineken Champions Cup Top 14