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Revamping the Elite One Championship

Discussion in 'French Rugby League' started by RLOffsider, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. RLOffsider

    RLOffsider Juniors

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    With Catalans Dragons recently winning the Challenge Cup, Toulouse Olympique in the Qualifiers and France winning the U19 European Cup - is it time to look at revamping the Elite One Championship? The competition is in a healthy state however there is very little interest outside of the domestic league. What could the Elite One Championship do to introduce a new breed of professionalism?

    The idea: Fox League (Australia) have no content for the rugby league off-season. The Elite One Championship could provide the perfect solution and give Australian NRL fans primetime content to watch over the summer break and provide much-needed $$$ to help the Elite One Championship to become professional. 11am (local) = 9pm (AEDT). Eight teams, 14 rounds. Mid-November to first Sunday in March.

    Teams: AS Carcassonne, Lézignan Sangliers, Limoux Grizzlies, Lyon Villeurbanne XIII, RC Albi XIII, Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), SO Avignon and Villeneuve XIII RLLG. Palau XIII and Saint-Gaudens compete in Elite Two. An U19s championship will run parallel with the addition of Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique academies (10 teams). At the end of the season, the Elite One champions will play in a tri-series with Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique. Future expansion to Paris, Marseille, Spain, Italy. Also if USA/Canada franchises want to play in Europe, this can be a springboard.

    Players: Each player would have a squad of 25-30 players. The majority (15-20) must be from continental Europe. It will aim at developing French talent with the idea of giving Catalans and Toulouse players to join their Super League squads. Ten overseas players are allowed per team. These could be exiles (e.g. Todd Carney, Kenny Edwards), retirees (e.g. Chris Heighington, Jason Nightingale) or fringe-NRL players (e.g. Hayze Perham - Warriors, Mason Cerruto - Bulldogs, Stanton Albert - PNG Hunters)

    Rule changes: The competition could make some minor tweaks to the rules. One change I would propose is reduction of games to 60 minutes. There would also be the possibility to replace scrums with quick taps OR you could even bring back the scrum contest, entirely up to those in charge.

    Fox League aren't going to bring NRL-level $$$ but it could be an option that will bring viewers in the off-season and would be a win-win scenario for French Rugby League.
     
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  2. Foreign Legion

    Foreign Legion First Grade

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    Sounds good to me... get a couple retiring nrl stars in the mix...
     
  3. StadiumXIII

    StadiumXIII Juniors

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    Like the idea but Lyon and Red Star are not ready for that level yet maybe in 5 years time this could be a reality. I don't like the idea of 60 minutes but the quick taps replacing scrums are a great idea.
     
  4. flamin

    flamin Juniors

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    Red Star have requested to play in the Challenge Cup in 2019 and apparently have ambitions to play in League 1. A European league based around France may be more achievable.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-league/45322452
     
  5. Foreign Legion

    Foreign Legion First Grade

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    European League, 6 teams from France, 1 team from Italy, 1 team Serbia and 1 from Russia or Ukraine. Have a bye each week.
     
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  6. titoelcolombiano

    titoelcolombiano Bench

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    We need a third professional league to provide more opportunities other than the NRL and SL. The best and biggest French clubs (other than Toulouse & Catalan) with a mix of European clubs is a great option.
     
  7. Walter sobchak

    Walter sobchak First Grade

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    Totally agree but unfortunately the reality is that RL doesn’t have the money or media presence in France for a stand alone league/competition to make this a reality. Plus rugby union which is leagues biggest competitor does have the money and media presence to just constantly pick it apart and strangle it by signing the best players even if they don’t make it union but just for the hell of it as long as league remains obscure in France.
     
  8. Walter sobchak

    Walter sobchak First Grade

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    Again. It comes down to our old friend money unfortunately. Why would anybody want to invest in a minor competition?? It’s all about and investing in premier competitions be it football or union.
     
  9. Walter sobchak

    Walter sobchak First Grade

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    This is very good news indeed. Red star seem dead keen and serious about developing RL in Serbia. Aren’t they backed by Aussie-Serbian money??
     
  10. titoelcolombiano

    titoelcolombiano Bench

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    Give it time - we are on the cusp of two French SL teams. Once we have two a third should start in L1 IMO. We can slowly build so that there is 5 or 6 fully professional French sides with good followings and then maybe add Red Star, the two Welsh clubs and even Toronto. Admit that this could take a couple of decades.
     
  11. Walter sobchak

    Walter sobchak First Grade

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    Planning and in it for the long haul aren’t words I would usually associate with RL development in the U.K. personally I’d introduce the French franchises into the U.K. leagues to expansion cities like Lyon, Marseille and Montpelier etc. And keep elite 1&2 for the current town and village teams.
     
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  12. yakstorm

    yakstorm Bench

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    The thing I love best about this idea, is it is predominately using existing infrastructure which is already in place in France (and Serbia) as the foundations. With Belgrade now with money and six of the seven French teams listed already having budgets and players for Elite One, it isn't an unrealistic stretch to turn this into a TV Product.

    Lyon is of course a potential risk, but again, there are already some foundations there, so it is in now way as ambitious as attempting to throw in a Paris club or somewhere new.

    Now being realistic, whilst Fox is hungry for content and would I'm sure, be open to considering this, I can honestly see one of two things happening:
    • Fox will offer a few million for it, but will then put onto the FFRXIII the requirements to broadcast all games and provide the feed back to Australia
    • Fox will underwrite the broadcast fee, but won't pay anything extra for the content
    Either way, the game(s) can get on TV, but there won't really be any extra money to turn a Semi Pro competition into a Professional competition.

    The positive thing is, if the games get televised, then suddenly the FFRXIII actually has something to sell. Sky Sport (UK), Sky Sports (NZ), TVWAN (PNG), Fiji One (Pacific) are all likely to be open to spending some money on picking up this content. There is also BeIN Sport and other broadcasters in France, who will be willing to pick up the feed and add French commentary, plus you can always try and maybe get a few extra dollars from Fox by letting them simulcast this on the Watch NRL app.

    Again, wouldn't be anything massive, and unlikely to change it from Semi-Pro to Pro, but it would drastically increase the reach of the competition, and as well open up longer term opportunities to go Professional.

    I don't feel having a 'semi-Pro' competition, especially if you can get a scattering of Professionals and maybe some former players from NRL / SL into the mix will be any worse of a TV product.

    Another TV timeslots which could be offered which would work well into the other markets is the 8pm France (6am Australia / 8am New Zealand), especially as We've already seen some SL games rate well in this timeslot early in the season relative to other sports.

    Naturally however, unless someone wants to run with this and do all the leg work, it isn't going to be anymore than a forum thread unfortunately.
     
  13. Foreign Legion

    Foreign Legion First Grade

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    If only France could catch a break
     

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