Elite 1 – My dream of elite 4 teams for XIII in France – Rugby à XIII

The federal desire has always been for an elite with more and more teams, without apparent success. Maybe it’s time to try something else?

Over the years, it seems that the only salvation has been as many elite clubs as possible. Many arguments have been made in this direction, but I am opposed to this.

Not believe in hereditary arguments

I hear arguments that want an elite with more and more clubs, even if I don’t necessarily think of them.

Let’s quickly dispel the logic of those who say it won’t match enough. Regardless of the number of teams, if we want a championship with 20 days, we do a championship with 20 days. Teams can play 3 or 4 times, we can add extra rounds or boost derby, there are lots of solutions.
Example: 3 matches between each team: 21 matches + playoffs + Coupe de France.
One of three skirmishes on neutral ground or 7 Magic Weekend or meetings in “non-treasured” cities or Magic Weekend in “non-treasured” cities or even matches that move overseas or move overseas The Magic Weekend … In short, you got me.

The second is linked to the previous one, with some responding (yes because I regularly sow ideas) that it would be more difficult to find a sponsor. Why? If the number of matches does not change, even though derbies and posters attracting more viewers come more often, if the level rises and the spectacle too… there is no reason it is not the opposite effect either.

I have also heard about reliability. It is not enough to have a classification with 12–14 or 16 teams to be reliable. Structures, level of play, professionalism of the championship and club are very important. The number does not do everything or even it does nothing.

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My reasoning for a reduced elite … necessarily more reassuring

The first, although it is based on only one sentence, is probably not the least. “The same causes produce the same effect”. This idea has been the same for years and does not work as a priority. All believe that they can do better than their predecessors in similar ways. We make clubs that are not ready. Others live or end up staying in the elite and the professionalism of our elite does not progress. By “professionalism” I mean: being able to practice full time and make a living as a player, coach, member of the game or administrative staff of a rugby union club.

It won’t happen overnight, of course, but that’s the goal. Keeping this in mind, we need to make an attractive and high-level championship. For this we need the cream of the game and this is their main or unique activity. It will also require visibility. Modern communication equipment used in this season needs to be developed and improved. The idea is to attract new sponsors and hope to sell our championship. If a national sponsor impacts 6 clubs instead of 12, they will be developed quickly. Let’s enlarge the cake before adding the slices instead of adding the slices, which has not made the cake bigger yet.

And once at 8 o’clock it works …

Let’s be optimistic and project ourselves a little bit. Suppose a championship develops and there are interesting economic benefits. We are definitely not going to live forever.

The second idea, which everyone shares more or less with varying degrees and some variations, is elite teams in big cities, developing rugby unions over a large area. There again two solutions. Start a club at the base, move up the ranks one by one with a rugby school and among seniors, which will take years or decide to leave a professional club. The advantage is to create new markets, increase visibility and attract new partners. This means recruiting players and hence taking them to a new area. For this, full-time professional status is necessary. The most grumpy people would call them “mercenaries”, I would call them professionals.

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Link to what we have today

Utopia is good, but we are not starting from scratch. What is the Current Status? Which model is closest to it?

If we look at both the budget and the standings of today, we can see that the championship is going at two speeds. It is not a question of dismissing the last or the smallest budget of the championship by hand but being realistic and rational. Toulouse, Albie and Saint-Gaudens are struggling to flourish so close to each other. There are also concerns over Saint-Gaudin’s presence in Elite next season. Palau is very close to Perpignan and the Dragons’ Reserve. Doubts were also expressed by management about the club’s future at Elite. Aud is the exception, with 3 clubs doing well. The merger is not for now.

Just asking if it is feasible to live in elite should be an answer in itself. Naturally, the balance is tilted towards 8. Bringing Elite 2 clubs for 2022 will provide them no service and / or will be a disadvantage over already existing clubs.

While reducing the number of elite teams, I am not claiming to say that this is the solution, but at least it is a path that has never been taken. And I cautiously slip for you in the end, but I will also go for an elite at 6… shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Julian Castagnet

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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