The top-flight sides from both countries served notice to quit the current European competition structure, which includes the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup, in June last year. They want changes to the structure of both continental competitions, principally over the number of teams involved, the qualifying process and how funds are distributed.
Negotiations with European Rugby Cup, organisers of the two competitions, have been deadlocked for some time. Now Premiership Rugby, representing the English clubs, and French counterpart Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), have decided it is time to make alternative arrangements.
The English and French say clubs from other countries will be welcome to participate in their new competitions. They propose that two new competitions of 20 clubs be formed with qualification based on league placings in England, France and the RaboDirect Pro12.
At present they feel the format gives an unfair advantage to teams from the Pro12, which features teams from Europe's four other main nations and which guarantees two Scottish and two Italian teams entry into the Heineken Cup.
The English and French clubs have not ruled out staying with ERC but are clear that the time for procrastination is over. Mark McCafferty, the Premiership Rugby chief executive, said: "We have had 15 months of discussions which haven't produced an outcome. There hasn't been a meeting since May. We have had proposals on the table but there has been nothing tangible or visible from ERC.
"If there were more proposals to consider, of course we have to leave that door open, but not if it is going to detract from getting on and organising what we need to with the French clubs . . . Our proposals are to make that competition stronger. Our view is that the competition is not a truly elite one as you don't have the 24 best clubs in there."