The claim is that they are now committed to creating a new competition that they will run with the French clubs. They are graciously offering places to the Celts and Italians, while the South Africans are also going to join them.
Where have we heard that before? Was it not a decade or so ago that the then struggling Celtic League was sending out a similar invitation?
South Africa, it seems, is fast becoming the last refuge of the unpatriotically desperate, but we knew then, and we know now, that a club or provincial tournament spread across two separate hemispheres will lack identity.
What makes this so sad is that the Heineken Cup, the one true success story of rugby's professional era, is to be sacrificed because of little more than petulance and greed. The Celtic nations have come up with a superior model in terms of developing teams capable of winning the top prize more often than the English and French, while also enjoying disproportionate success in terms of tournament play and individual Lions selections.
For the time being at least, the English and French clubs have the wealth to wreck that set-up and, as I indicated last week, it may well be that this is the last season of Heineken Cup rugby as we know it.
If the nuclear option has already been taken, however, those responsible should brace themselves for the winter that follows which could prove long and brutal and may even threaten the long-term survival of a professional game that is still very much in the early days of its evolutionary process.
What they are eyeing with envy is the power commanded by those they see as their peers at the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich, but this is not Premiership football, La Liga or the Bundesliga, a leading brand in one of the world's strongest sporting market.
This is rugby, a sport that largely remains dominated, by the nations of old empire, a code that, like footballing counterparts Gaelic Football or Aussie Rules - but at least 30 years behind American Football in terms of global marketing - is something of a curiosity outwith its existing heartlands. In the professional era, we have had hints of rugby's potential, with players from the South Seas, South America and Eastern Europe all earning opportunities in the big professional leagues and progress is gradually being made in terms of broadening competitiveness at Test level.
However, there is no way the global growth of the game is going to be driven by the likes of Saracens playing the odd "home" game in San Francisco, a form of tokenism towards missionary work that makes the NFL's ultimately failed experiments with the London Monarchs and Scottish Claymores look visionary.
For the foreseeable future, that can only happen through promoting the sport on an international platform. By definition, as currently being demonstrated in England and France, that is not what club sport is about since the principal consideration at that level is what is best for their club in the short-term.
All this at a time when even English football, with its vast resources, is beginning to realise the folly of leaving the development of the sport in the hands of clubs.
Only this month Greg Dyke, the new chairman of England's Football Association, admitted that a complete overhaul is required if their national team is to achieve its potential, citing the lack of opportunities being provided to promising homegrown English talent.
It is, meanwhile, widely accepted that there were rugby club owners in England who had, at best, mixed emotions when Martin Johnson's men won the World Cup a decade ago because they knew the clout it would give to the English rugby union. To that end you almost have to be suspicious of their timing now, bringing matters to a head just as tournament organisers have started the two-year countdown to England's hosting of the next World Cup.
Perhaps the clubs are gambling that if they choose to go it alone their union, desperate as it is for that tournament to be a success, will not take the available option of refusing to select players who represent the rebel clubs, as happened in the late seventies when Kerry Packer challenged cricket authorities. It would certainly be messy if next season was to be one of transition on the field, with the best competition of all scrapped and a new one introduced, while leading players potentially became pawns in off-field legal wrangling.
The hope for the greater good is that England's Rugby Football Union, with the full support of the International Rugby Board and, indeed, the Celts and Italians, holds it nerve and has the courage to tell its players that if they are with clubs participating in unsanctioned competitions they will not be playing at the World Cup.
It may well be that some decisions may now have been made, or at least it will be impossible for those who claim to have made them to reverse their positions without losing face. We can but hope that the damage they will cause can be mitigated, but I have my doubts.