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Could a European Rugby Premier League be created?

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The Oracle
Pot Hale
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Could a European Rugby Premier League be created? Empty Could a European Rugby Premier League be created?

Post by Pot Hale Tue 20 Apr 2021, 9:41 am

With the news that 12 of soccer's top clubs announcing the creation of a new Super League this week, I got to wondering if a similar venture - although on a smaller scale - could be created for European rugby.  Who could be involved, how would it work and what effect might it have on existing leagues/competitions?

Starting with who could be involved and assuming say 14 teams the criteria could be picking teams that have had success or regular appearances in the business end of tournaments allied with a minimum size stadium, and a strong fan base, with sufficient financial backing/earning revenues.  A higher salary cap set around 10-12m would ensure adequate, quality squads could be maintained.  

Each team would have to have a minimum capacity stadium of say 16,000.  

14 possible teams to start with could include:

Bordeaux Begles
Bristol
Clermont
Exeter
Gloucester
La Rochelle
Leicester
Leinster
Lyon
Munster
Racing
Toulouse
Ulster
Wasps

There would be no relegation for first 3 years.

Top14 would have to re-structure with the remaining 8 Top teams being added to from PRO D2 up to say 12 teams
Remaining teams in PRO16 and Premiership would combine into a unified BISA two division league with 10 teams each.

Relegation would start once teams are settled after say 3 years. Euro Super Premier League (ESPL) at top, Top 14 and British/Irish/SA (BISA) Premiership next, and PRO D2, and BISA Championship at third level. Semi-pro or amateur beneath that.

After 3 years, say, bottom two of ESPL relegated with winners of Top 14 and BISA Premiership being promoted. If it's two French for drop, only one comes up and the bottom two in Top 14 drop into PRO D2. If it's two B&I teams, then bottom two in BISA Premiership drop into BISA Championship.


Last edited by Pot Hale on Wed 21 Apr 2021, 8:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by The Oracle Tue 20 Apr 2021, 9:47 am

Would players in this league be banned from playing in international matches, etc. like what the governing bodies are saying with the football Super League? If so this might be a non-starter.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 20 Apr 2021, 10:29 am

Can't see the football one being successful let alone this. Even if it was would anyone really want Gloucester over Saracens!

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Post by Old Man Tue 20 Apr 2021, 10:42 am

What happens to the champions Cup then?

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 20 Apr 2021, 11:20 am

Why did someone complain about this? It's not like it hasn't been discussed before... There is similar that regularly does the rounds (Anglo-welsh league, British and Irish league, etc). I don't see it working. The EP and Top 14 wouldn't want it and don't need it. Top 14 seems to be a whole lot richer right now despite the circumstances, weird.

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Post by Brendan Tue 20 Apr 2021, 11:22 am

Not sure if there would be the same finances.

The dirty dozen fund their FAs rather then in Rugby the Unions Fund nearly 50% of premiership funding and more of the Pro14.

If this was to happen I wonder if it would be RFU funded teams rather then PRL teams.

Because of the nature of Rugby it would be the Top14 big clubs, Sarries, Bristol that would go.

While Exeter and Tigers can currently compete but could they if there was a big increase in the wage cap.

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Post by Brendan Tue 20 Apr 2021, 11:54 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Why did someone complain about this? It's not like it hasn't been discussed before... There is similar that regularly does the rounds (Anglo-welsh league, British and Irish league, etc). I don't see it working. The EP and Top 14 wouldn't want it and don't need it. Top 14 seems to be a whole lot richer right now despite the circumstances, weird.

Top 14 don't but Premership (like Super Rugby before) are no longer built on the foundations that they sold themselves on.
1. They aren't the most phyisical league in the world which is clearly France. Even teams like Ulster who struggle against big French team rarely struggle with English teams physically.
2. They don't attract the stars any more, players like Mercer to France is a worry.
3. They don't have the best teams. In the Champions Cup Sarries covered alot of failures.
4. Their new cap will make them lower then half the Pro14 teams so can't fill squads with Non-Eq players. Sarries broke the higher cap to compete in Europe and Exeter will have to lose players for the new cap when renewing.
5. Relegation is soon gone which was supposedly why they were so compeditive at the business end.
6. No longer the richest league so agents won't be as interested.

Premership is in trouble when compared to the T14 and is an equal to the Pro14 in terms of nearly everything except finances but that may soon be levelling up.

Reducing the salary cap says the teams were in trouble and needed to cut costs.  If they can't get the best of Scotland, Wales and the SH do they have the players to compete with the top 8 teams of the Pro16. Without the SA players are teams like Sale phyisical enough.  Do Lam, Baxter and McCall stay in England if they can coach better players for more money in France.

Just wait till the ProD2 start taking our dinner.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 20 Apr 2021, 12:17 pm

In which case, an Anglo-Welsh or (more likely) British and Irish league might become attractive in the near future if we're all struggling to compete with the French clubs. My concern with that would be losing players to English clubs and us becoming less competitive, unless there was a salary cap imposed for every single team... Too complicated for me.

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Post by Brendan Tue 20 Apr 2021, 1:59 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:In which case, an Anglo-Welsh or (more likely) British and Irish league might become attractive in the near future if we're all struggling to compete with the French clubs. My concern with that would be losing players to English clubs and us becoming less competitive, unless there was a salary cap imposed for every single team... Too complicated for me.

If international revenues keep going up to then Pro14 has no issues.

Domestic leagues are determined by their international and domestic market. International market is small so France has a big domestic market but not bottomless.

It's why we like Euro Cups

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 21 Apr 2021, 8:02 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Can't see the football one being successful let alone this. Even if it was would anyone really want Gloucester over Saracens!

Well this one would have relegation once teams are settled after say 3 years. Euro Super Premier League (ESPL) at top, Top 14 and British/Irish/SA (BISA) Premiership next, and PRO D2, and BISA Championship at third level. Semi-pro or amateur beneath that.

After 3 years, say, bottom two of ESPL relegated with winners of Top 14 and BISA Premiership being promoted. If it's two French for drop, only one comes up and the bottom two in Top 14 drop into PRO D2. If it's two B&I teams, then bottom two in BISA Premiership drop into BISA Championship.

I just picked teams with large stadia/fan bases and money to start with. If Saracens make the cut, fine with me.

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 21 Apr 2021, 8:03 pm

The Oracle wrote:Would players in this league be banned from playing in international matches, etc. like what the governing bodies are saying with the football Super League?  If so this might be a non-starter.

Nope - it would be done in agreement with the 3 existing leagues and backing of WR and the relevant unions.
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Post by Pot Hale Wed 21 Apr 2021, 8:05 pm

Old Man wrote:What happens to the champions Cup then?


There would still be 3 leagues so Champions Cup could continue with say 16 teams drawn from the three leagues to run during season.
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Post by Pot Hale Wed 21 Apr 2021, 8:08 pm

Brendan wrote:Not sure if there would be the same finances.

The dirty dozen fund their FAs rather then in Rugby the Unions Fund nearly 50% of premiership funding and more of the Pro14.

If this was to happen I wonder if it would be RFU funded teams rather then PRL teams.

Because of the nature of Rugby it would be the Top14 big clubs, Sarries, Bristol that would go.

While Exeter and Tigers can currently compete but could they if there was a big increase in the wage cap.

Money would certainly be a big driver. Would an ESPL league generate bigger TV/sponsor revenues and perhaps there should be a tithe on that league's earnings which flows to the lower divisions as well as union funds.
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Post by Brendan Thu 22 Apr 2021, 8:53 am

So point that was raised about the super league was that you would be taking fans who are use to winning most of their games (which is why they have the most fans) to suddenly winning half or less a season and would fans really want that.

As we have seen with the Pro14 best teams in one league doesn't mean they will be big in a bigger league

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