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Worcester-Sixways, LI and Wasps, WTF?

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Post by Intotouch Thu 29 Sep 2022, 8:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

And no, I don’t mean “welcome to Facebook” .
I logged onto the forum a few days ago to learn more about what has happened to these clubs expecting to a thread on this. But I had to write one instead. (Should I have used the title “who cares”?)

After listening to an OTB interview with an English reporter on the subject I gather that no staff working at Worcester have been paid for months, including those on low wages who will have missed mortgage payments and since their finances/ accounts still haven’t been properly kept they can’t yet be sold so there’s no hope of a white knight rescuing them. Their finances were completely mismanaged. Wasps appear to be in a better position and although they’ll be relegated will continue to exist. They are struggling to pay a tax bill and a debt incurred when they moved to London. (I thought this sounded weird, why move to a crazy expensive city packed with other sports teams?)

Below is an interesting article from the BBC on this topic.
https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/63053674
What shocked me about this article is the following: “ One club owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told BBC Sport: "I don't think there's one owner who'd tell you the model is working. It's completely flawed." Bristol Bears owner Stephen Lansdown recently said there is "just not enough money in the game,” If this is true, why is it true?

In the meantime , other clubs in the prem have voted to increase the salary cap at a time when many clubs are struggling with debts. This all sounds seriously worrying and suggests that clubs in the prem will soon have bigger financial problems in the future trying to pay even more in wages. Which suggests that more will start to go bust. And they voted to increase the salary cap? Am I missing something here or is this as dysfunctional as it sounds? And how can there not be enough money in the game in England? Rugby fans from other countries also regularly say how great the competition is, fans are absolutely showing up to see it, the competition is healthy, tv contracts are in place, cvc threw money at it recently. In theory things should be great. So….Welcome to Facebook?

(By the way this thread isn’t an invitation to slam the premiership or gloat. We are all rugby fans first and foremost and this could just as easily happen to your own club.)


Last edited by Intotouch on Thu 25 May 2023, 12:23 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 16 Dec 2022, 12:25 pm

Beeb:

'Worcester's application to return to professional rugby next season has been rejected by the Rugby Football Union.

But the RFU has approved Wasps' return in 2023-24, with the club set to play in the Championship, provided they adhere to a number of conditions.

Both sides were removed from the Premiership after going into administration in October.

The RFU board had been assessing the applications from bidders aiming to take over the two stricken clubs.

Worcester, whose debts totalled more than £30m when they went under, have been the subject of a bid from former Warriors chief executive Jim O'Toole and his Atlas consortium.

Atlas accused the governing body of trying to impose "onerous operational conditions" on the group as they negotiate a takeover with administrators Begbies Traynor.

The RFU said they had "put forward a number of conditions" for the prospective buyers to meet, including commitments not to dispose of land around Sixways stadium and the "swift" payment of rugby creditors.

"The bidders, selected by the administrators of the insolvent WRFC Trading Limited, have informed us that they are not prepared to meet these conditions, and therefore the RFU board was unable to approve their application," a statement continued.

"The RFU will now work with the administrator to enable alternative bids that would secure professional rugby at Sixways and to work together in a timetable to enable that to happen."

Their decision could see the renewal of a bid by a consortium led by former Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond and a previously unnamed ally, the old club's main sponsor, local Hartlebury-based businessman Adam Hewitt.

"I can confirm that Adam Hewitt and I are fully committed to bringing Worcester Warriors back to the Premiership. We have the plan and the funding. Give us the opportunity. We will give you the rugby. Bring it on," Diamond posted on Twitter on Thursday.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said that although the news was not what Worcester fans and former staff wanted to hear, the best interests of the club was their "key priority".

He added: "We are prepared to extend the deadlines to explore if an alternative bidder can be found who has the continuation of rugby in Worcester central to its business plan."

However, Atlas said in a statement on Thursday that if the RFU did not change its stance, they would look to conclude a deal "without the approval of the RFU and without returning elite level rugby to Worcester".

Wasps move to next stage
Wasps had debts totalling £95m when they went into administration, but an offer from a consortium including members of the club's legends group was accepted at the end of October.

Their bid does not include the women's team, which is a separate club and will continue to play as part of the amateur side Wasps FC.

The RFU say they will continue to work with the bidders over the coming weeks to meet a number of "specific conditions" they had laid down.

The statement continued: "These include a range of financial commitments to ensure that the club remains funded, the lodging of a significant bond, the regular provision of financial and other information, swift payment of rugby creditors, and corporate governance requirements including relating to the club's board of directors and risk management process."

The decisions were taken following a due diligence process conducted by the RFU's financial viability group.

It includes members of the RFU board, council and executive staff, representatives from Premier Rugby, the Championship and National League Rugby, plus specialist insolvency experts.'

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Post by lostinwales Fri 16 Dec 2022, 2:36 pm

Wasps claiming they will be back for 23-24.

Wasps are delighted to announce their return for the 2023/24 season, with confirmation they have now fully satisfied Rugby Football Union (RFU) requirements.

The link on the tweet wasn't working (or being very slow)

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Post by doctor_grey Fri 16 Dec 2022, 11:30 pm

lostinwales wrote:Wasps claiming they will be back for 23-24.

Wasps are delighted to announce their return for the 2023/24 season, with confirmation they have now fully satisfied Rugby Football Union (RFU) requirements.

The link on the tweet wasn't working (or being very slow)
Where are they going to play? And will they travel even further away from Wasps original west London roots? Do they still have supporters? Or will they have to build a whole new brand somewhere else and buld a supporter base from scratch? If so, I hope that is built into their business plan - otherwise this will be another debacle.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 17 Dec 2022, 7:35 am

Solihull Moors stadium apparently. Well at least in the short term. It's not far from Coventry and used to be a ground share with a lower league union outfit. It's only 5.5k capacity though so can't be the long term plan unless redevelopment is on the cards soon.

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 17 Dec 2022, 1:32 pm

That is already agreed? The new ownership group is moving quickly, which is really good. And, as you say, close to Coventry, I guess one has to start somewhere. Maybe this is the path Ealing should take if they are promoted.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 23 Dec 2022, 2:33 pm

https://www.rugbypass.com/rugby-league/news/nrl-salary-cap-outstrips-gallagher-premiership-for-first-time/

A sign of the times. Quite worrying if we (union) are struggling to compete against league.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 23 Dec 2022, 3:19 pm

An article that states $12.1 million = £6.7 million needs a new Currency converter

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 23 Dec 2022, 3:25 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:An article that states $12.1 million  = £6.7 million needs a new Currency converter
Seems right unless I'm using the Google converter wrong?

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 23 Dec 2022, 5:30 pm

It's right if they meant australian dollar which is what I assume they did given they are speaking about NRL.

However they didn't clarify that, they said dollars so I suspect like a lot of people Geoff assumed that was US Dollars which as he said would be very wrong.

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Post by Intotouch Sat 21 Jan 2023, 10:21 pm

That’s great news about wasps, thanks for sharing that! It’s brilliant that they got backers so soon. They have a great history and I hope they have success in the future now.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 09 Feb 2023, 11:13 am

Need to change the title to Sixways and Wasps WTF. New owner announces a name change which I'm sure had a random tax or advertising reason to be announced shortly but just seems pointless and divisive at the moment.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 09 Feb 2023, 11:28 am

Ah, it means that debts to staff etc don't have to be paid. Taking over Stourbridge. Wuss basically gone then.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 09 Feb 2023, 11:34 am

Yeah sounds like they've separated out the Wuss assets and then left the club to rot away with the debt. Unfortunately that includes intangibles like the club name and logo. No problem they can buy a N4 tier club and get them to play at Sixways, presumably jumping them up the league structure quickly and into the Championship.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 09 Feb 2023, 11:36 am

Having said that a quick look at the league they are in shows them as bottom. Leicester Lions, Hinckley, Loughborough University and Exeter University all in that league. Tough competition.

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama Thu 09 Feb 2023, 12:23 pm

Really cant help but feel at this point that going with Steve Diamond's bid for the club would've been a far better idea for all concerned!

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama Thu 09 Feb 2023, 12:28 pm

Interesting, looks like there are still moves to try and fight the sale to O'Toole: https://twitter.com/MattHardyJourno/status/1623654074263502849

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Post by stub Thu 09 Feb 2023, 1:13 pm

Rumours now that Wasps have signed a 5yr deal to play at Sixways...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 09 Feb 2023, 1:41 pm

stub wrote:Rumours now that Wasps have signed a 5yr deal to play at Sixways...

The Worcester Wasps. Maybe the Merger is back on though I thought Wasps were at one of the lowe league football stadiums (Solihull Moors) for at least next season?

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Post by stub Thu 09 Feb 2023, 1:54 pm

There is an article in the Telegraph apparently and The Wasps Forum is speculating. Solihull Moors was the Plan though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 16 Feb 2023, 8:45 am

Good news about Wasps then as they're confirmed for the Championship next year. Worcester situation still sounds horrendous. And now we have rumours that Ealing are possibly off to the URC as we here Cardiff got a last minute reprieve from administration....

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Post by stub Sat 18 Feb 2023, 8:23 pm

Still looking almost certain that Wasps will play at Sixways next season. 3 years is being mooted whilst they build a new stadium but I can see it being much longer than that.

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Post by stub Sat 18 Feb 2023, 8:25 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Good news about Wasps then as they're confirmed for the Championship next year. Worcester situation still sounds horrendous. And now we have rumours that Ealing are possibly off to the URC as we here Cardiff got a last minute reprieve from administration....

Are Ealing allowed to play in the URC? I think they would need permission from the RFU. That’s what I’ve been reading on other forums about similar scenarios.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 20 Feb 2023, 8:31 am

And Leicester in a bit of trouble.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 20 Feb 2023, 9:19 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:And Leicester in a bit of trouble.

Not really. We'd only be in trouble if the fan based shareholders rallied into a group and blocked the two main shareholders from investing money into the club via equity. Which they won't, that would be turkeys voting for Christmas (then again some people voted for Brexit so who knows).

As Tigers are one of the few clubs with a large shareholder base these things have to be made public whereas in most other clubs with a single owner it would just happen behind closed doors.

The club got hammered over Covid and then has had half a season where we've played a lot of games away from home, had two home games cancelled. The club is reliant on match day earnings as it's run as a business. Cash shortage from lack of home games has caused some cashflow stress. The main shareholders have just stepped in to inject funds so there shouldn't be a problem again. Realistically it'll take the clubs years to recover from the Covid period and will need to maximise earnings from corporate events, weddings etc at the ground to make ends meat.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 20 Feb 2023, 9:31 am

Yeah, there's no real choice but to go with it.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 20 Feb 2023, 5:20 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yeah, there's no real choice but to go with it.

Pretty much.

It's a technicality because it would move one individual's shareholding over the limit where they'd have to bid for the other shares in the company unless an exemption is signed. The media are making a big deal out of it but those who bought shares in Tigers generally bought one or two for novelty value or to help the club. There's no real return to be had by forcing a buy out and it would hobble the club.

I'll be amazed if it isn't waved through.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 20 Feb 2023, 6:43 pm

stub wrote:Rumours now that Wasps have signed a 5yr deal to play at Sixways...
Shouldn't be longer than 5 years.  Wasps are still moving north from west London to west London to the northwest suburbs to Coventry to Worcester to....Carlisle.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Fri 19 May 2023, 12:07 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Good news about Wasps then as they're confirmed for the Championship next year.
Now unconfirmed, down to the bottom tier in whatever region they'll be based in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/65634760

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 23 May 2023, 8:19 am

From the times.

London Irish are on the brink of collapse. The RFU has set the club a hard deadline of May 30 to prove their viability for next season or be suspended from the English league pyramid.

One of two things must happen by next Tuesday if London Irish, who do not own their stadium and are saddled with £30 million of debt, are to be saved:

● a proposed takeover by an American consortium, which has been in discussion since last October, is completed and approved by the RFU;

● the present owners of the club demonstrate they will continue to fund London Irish through the 2023-24 season.

Fail and London Irish will become the third professional club this season to collapse, after Worcester Warriors and Wasps.

ADVERTISEMENT

Will London Irish survive?
Not one senior official in the English game has any confidence that the takeover will amount to anything. The consortium has missed multiple deadlines set by the RFU to provide key documentation, including proof of funds.

The RFU must approve any takeover and the union first requested information from the prospective owners five months ago.


It has emerged in recent days that the consortium is headed up by Alfred “Chip” Sloan, an American former sports agent who previously expressed an interest in buying Saracens but did not close the deal. A group of former NBA and NFL players are part of the consortium’s leadership team.

One industry source said that the deal should have been thrown out on day one if the consortium was unable to demonstrate its funds, business plan and investors from the outset.

SPONSORED


It is understood that the RFU has been frustrated by a series of unfulfilled commitments from the consortium, including statements that payments had been sent when they had not.


Crossan is not expected to continue bankrolling the club
MIKE HEWITT/GETTY IMAGES
The consortium has insisted that there will be “big progress” in the coming days but was unable to provide any evidence to support its “great positivity”.

Regarding the second demand, there is a widespread expectation that Mick Crossan, who owns London Irish via his company, Powerday, will not be prepared to continue bankrolling the club.

The average losses of a Gallagher Premiership club each year are £4 million. London Irish do not have the facility to generate income outside match days because they do not own a stadium.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 23 May 2023, 8:21 am

Not sure what I'd do if a club I supported went under. Thought often as a Boro fan if they'd gone before Gibson took over could I ever have supported Leeds or Newcastle. Or subjected myself to Darlington or Hartlepool.

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Post by Oakdene Tue 23 May 2023, 8:36 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Not sure what I'd do if a club I supported went under. Thought often as a Boro fan if they'd gone before Gibson took over could I ever have supported Leeds or Newcastle. Or subjected myself to Darlington or Hartlepool.

I was thinking this the other day. As a Scarlets fan, if we went under there is no way I could support the Ospreys. I'd probably end up watching local rugby every weekend.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 23 May 2023, 8:50 am

Oakdene wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Not sure what I'd do if a club I supported went under. Thought often as a Boro fan if they'd gone before Gibson took over could I ever have supported Leeds or Newcastle. Or subjected myself to Darlington or Hartlepool.

I was thinking this the other day. As a Scarlets fan, if we went under there is no way I could support the Ospreys. I'd probably end up watching local rugby every weekend.

Yeah if Tigers went under there's absolutely no chance I'd support Saints. I'd be going up the road to watch Loughborough University.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 23 May 2023, 9:33 am

There seem to be a lot of flaky consortia involved with rugby , and the blame for that, in England at least, must lie with the RFU and the Premiership.

There's so much up in the air with the sport today, it is virtually impossible to put together a viable business plan, which means you can't secure financing. Instead, the sport now only attracts unrealistic dreamers, outright scam artists, or rugby-mad billionaires, and there aren't too many of the latter around.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 23 May 2023, 10:10 am

According to The Telegraph, London Irish players are already in talks with other clubs, mainly in France, as they look to secure their futures.

Players agents have been speaking to clubs amid mounting fears there is little hope of a takeover by a US consortium going through in time to save the club.

The Exiles, who have debts of more than £30million, have been set a deadline of May 30 by the Rugby Football Union to prove that they have completed an approved takeover, or provide evidence that they have the funds to complete next season.

Failure to meet this deadline would result in London Irish being suspended from the Premiership, exacerbating their already precarious situation.

With a staggering debt of £30 million, owner Mick Crossan had previously expressed his willingness to sell the club for a mere pound if given the opportunity.

The potential consequences of the takeover falling through are dire, casting doubt on Crossan’s future investment and jeopardizing London Irish’s continued existence as a Premiership club.

Recognising the potential risks involved, the RFU, Premiership Rugby, and the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) are determined to avoid a repeat of last season’s mid-season collapses of Wasps and Worcester, both of which went into administration and were subsequently relegated.

In a statement issued by the union, they emphasised the need to address the prevailing uncertainty and speculation surrounding the club’s future, as it is impacting players, staff, and fans alike.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 23 May 2023, 10:13 am

The RFU could buy it for a pound, gather the best English stars, work their way round any salary cap with a nice central contract, jobs a good un.


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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 23 May 2023, 10:15 am

If I was Arundall, Hassell-Collins, Jackson etc I would not hang around and get a decent contract elsewhere asap,
before the market retracts further.

For a lot of squad players, sadly, they have no viable options.

Conveniently for the authorities it provides a league of 10 teams.
Trouble is dropping from 13 to 10 is the loss of 3 home games a year - leading to a further reduction in revenue.


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Post by Recwatcher16 Tue 23 May 2023, 12:25 pm

A ten team league has been discussed at PRL level for well over a year.
The loss of three home fixtures will presumably be made up in greater share of TV money, I note the Premiership Final is also on ITV this Saturday - a welcome development which was agreed back in January.
Ultimately those teams with no ground ownership have struggled with their balance sheets and was always the advantage the T14 teams had with their (free) municipal stadia.

The Championship may well be the beneficiary from the fallout with both players joining and a higher profile with these teams playing a knockout competition with Premiership teams, something which should have happened twenty years ago and brings back potential giant killing fixtures. I see Kvesic has just joined Coventry, what a signing that is for them.

Whilst painful now, it could be the making of a wider exposure of rugby across a greater number of teams for the sport.

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Post by Intotouch Thu 25 May 2023, 12:23 am

So has there been any more news about London Irish? Will they make the deadline?

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Post by Heaf Thu 25 May 2023, 10:35 am

No and who knows ... doesn't look too promising Crying or Very sad

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Thu 25 May 2023, 6:34 pm

Intotouch wrote:So has there been any more news about London Irish? Will they make the deadline?
It looks like these American owners might just be interested in asset stripping LI...

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/soccer/london-irish-fear-proposed-new-owners-could-sell-training-base-to-nfl/ar-AA1bCQl4

It would be an absolute travesty to lose a club like LI.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 29 May 2023, 10:22 pm

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2023/05/29/london-irish-be-suspend-premiership-offer-arundell-pearson/

London Irish are set to be suspended by the Rugby Football Union on Wednesday, leaving their players scrambling for employment ahead of next season.

The chaos has also led to calls from Championship clubs for English rugby union bosses to heed the “wake-up call” and seize the opportunity to strengthen the second tier with more generous funding in a bid to accommodate the afflicted Irish players and solidify the league structure.

In scenes grimly familiar to those encountered by the squads of Worcester Warriors and Wasps just months ago, each individual at Irish faces a different circumstance. Though some are certain to be recruited within weeks, others have taken matters into their own hands with personal calls and emails.

Telegraph Sport understands that England wing Henry Arundell and World Cup hopeful Tom Pearson have both received at least four expressions of interest from various Premiership sides. Arundell, the explosive 20-year-old who made his first Test start against Ireland during the recent Six Nations, is believed to have provisional offers from France, with multiple Top 14 clubs in the running, as well as South Africa.

Pearson was voted as the Rugby Players’ Association young player of the year in recognition of his performances as Irish finished fifth in the Premiership. The all-action back-rower, and club captain Matt Rogerson, have been sounded out by Steve Borthwick and are in contention for England’s training camps this summer.

That pair could also benefit from the fact that Northampton Saints are in the market for a back-five forward after Lukhan Salakaia-Loto left for Australia last week. Harlequins and Bath are two other clubs said to be “respectfully keeping tabs on the situation” at Irish more generally.

The experience of Jack Willis, the ex-Wasps flanker who moved to Toulouse, will be used as a precedent for any prospective England player that secures a move outside of the Premiership. They will be able to make a strong argument that playing abroad should not hinder their eligibility, at least initially. Ben White, the Scotland scrum-half, could head to a United Rugby Championship franchise north of the border.

Meanwhile, Ben Loader, Will Joseph and Ollie Hoskins appear to have options in the Premiership. Many clubs have already spent up to budget for next season, having planned their recruitment in advance because of tight finances. As in the case of Worcester and Wasps folding last season, there will be no scope for salary-cap exemptions as a special measure.

The ceiling of the salary cap, however, is due to rise from £5 million to £6.4 million ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, which could help players to find destinations and squeeze onto top-flight rosters.

A number of London Irish players are aiming for roles in the Championship, following the lead of former Worcester players like Will Chudley and Matt Kvesic, both of whom will be at Coventry next season. Brochures and individual CVs are known to have been circulated to Championship clubs by agencies over the past few days, detailing clients that will be seeking employment.
'This has to be a wake-up call'

Telegraph Sport understands that there have also been direct emails and phone calls made to potential recruiters in the Championship by players at Irish. A Championship source suggested that governing bodies could act constructively in a time of change.

“This has to be a wake-up call,” they said. “Through unfortunate circumstances, the Premiership looks like it is going to get to 10 teams, which is what they have wanted for a while.

Why not take this opportunity to fund Championship teams better so they can have a stronger second tier as well? “I would love to take on a few of the players I have been offered. Some of them are former England Under-20 internationals, who would be great to develop. Some have Test caps. But how can I do that without additional finances from the RFU?

This should be an opportunity for them.” The RFU imposed a deadline of May 30 on London Irish in order to mitigate against uncertainty for next season given that the 2022-23 Premiership campaign saw both Worcester and Wasps go into administration during the fixture schedule.

It has since been acknowledged that it was a mistake to let those clubs start the season in such a perilous financial state. To avoid that sort of disruption during 2023-24, the RFU have asked Irish to demonstrate that either their takeover, by a US consortium, is viable or that Mick Crossan, the current owner, is prepared and able to fund the club through next season.

Failure to do so will end in suspension from competition, and a worst-case scenario is feared. Only on Friday, the RFU were said to have seen “zero progression” with the deal. Irish have been asked to outline their plans before 4pm tomorrow to the RFU’s financial viability group, who will meet and make a recommendation to the union’s board before an official announcement on Wednesday.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 30 May 2023, 6:41 am

That sucks for the players and fans. Hope most of them get a club quickly. I know the cap is rising but it's difficult to think that 4 clubs really have enough spare to be offering guys like Arundell or Peatson competitive wages. Surely they haven't rolled the dice thinking LI eere def going?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 30 May 2023, 7:47 am

geoff999rugby wrote:If I was Arundall, Hassell-Collins, Jackson etc I would not hang around and get a decent contract elsewhere asap,
before the market retracts further.

For a lot of squad players, sadly, they have no viable options.

Conveniently for the authorities it provides a league of 10 teams.
Trouble is dropping from 13 to 10 is the loss of 3 home games a year - leading to a further reduction in revenue.


Hassell-Collins will be at Tigers next season. Jackson would probably have to head to France or Japan, don't think another Prem club would be interested.

I really hope there's an 11th hour rescue but the comments about the Championship are correct it needs funding properly and not being messed about by the RFU.

The EQ players likely to be of interest include;

Will Goodrick-Clark
Chunya Munga
Josh Basham
Tom Pearson
Matt Rogerson
Will Joseph
Ben Loader
Tom Collins
Henry Arundell

There's some EQ development players that will attract interest as well in;

Afolabi Fasogbon
Tarek Haffar
Lucas Brooke
Monty Bradbury
Michael Dykes

Bath are allegedly well down the line or negotiations with Arundell and Pearson though why they want another openside is somewhat odd. Bath do have a tendency to leave a little cap unused so they can recruit mid season of they need to. A tactic they worked fantastically for them last season.

At a guess a number of other sides will be looking at development contracts (below a certain level I think are still exempt from the cap) and whether any of their injured players will be out long enough to make use of a dispensation signing.

Teams over in France are no doubt getting ready to swoop for Creevy, Fishetti, Coleman, Gonzalez, van Rensburg and Jackson. With Australia looking to invest in Wallabies talent pre world cup in then Hoskins will likely be heading there.

As a Tigers fan and guestimating our spend to date I'd be looking at Basham, Dykes, Haffar and Fasogbon.

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Post by SirBurger Tue 30 May 2023, 9:48 am

The concern is palpable...thanks guys Very Happy

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Post by king_carlos Tue 30 May 2023, 10:35 am

Such a shame this if it happens. LI have been building something good from a rugby perspective. The Prem just isn't a sustainable product now though so it wouldn't surprise me if the consortium are getting cold feet about buying in.

The quality is so much lower, ringfencing has produced too many dud games. At the last broadcast deal I believe BT were the only bidder. They've supported the league so well, especially through covid when they made the final payments early and in full despite no guarantee of rugby to broadcast. They did it just to keep the lights on. When any sport goes behind a paywall it gets largely awful press. When those companies do good it should be praised though, BT threw the Prem a lifeline there. I can only presume that at the next negotiation the deal will be far smaller once adjusted for inflation.

There are some rumours that part of the consortium looking to take over are involved with Jacksonville Jaguars and are partly interested due to the Hazelwood Centre being a potential base for an NFL franchise. It's largely been reported negatively but if they could do so whilst sharing the space that would be an incredible high performance centre for LI to piggyback off. Fears are of course that rugby would be squeezed out but given the dire state of the Prems finances having access to a world class facility as effectively the little brother isn't the worst thing if it could function that way. Several ifs there I accept.

I fear the boat has sailed for investing in the Championship. Back when the Prem was doing well and the Championship went 'pro' they needed to make a call on either properly investing in a A-league or properly investing in a more professional Championship. Naturally they half arsed both, didn't actually do either and here we are. That bridge between the academies and U20s, which are producing talent still, to senior rugby has collapsed. Since ringfencing it feels that the Prem has regressed to be that stepping stone for academy grads to step up. Great for giving teenagers early apps. Not so great for quality of rugby or product.

A ten team league makes some sense from a scheduling perspective. Less clashes with internationals should in theory improve quality. Fewer games and higher quality is what I want in the sport. It only works if the quality goes up though. With ringfencing, no threat of relegation I just don't see how that will actually happen to a significant extent though.

Another elephant in the room with the 10 team league is Falcons spending so far below the cap. I've said repeatedly that I really respect what Semore Kurdi is doing there as well. He's decided he'd rather spend less, accept lower performance but try to consolidate a more sustainable financial model for the club. He's been pumping money in for a long time, has been very clear he can't do so forever, wants to sell but is trying to support them as best he can in the meantime. My gripe isn't with Kurdi or those decisions at all. In terms of improving quality in a 10 team, ringfenced league having one of those 10 teams adrift in terms of spending and therefore squad depth is an issue though.

P shares were an abysmal decision done through self interest by the big clubs. It created a cartel and ringfencing by proxy that started this spiral. I take no joy in the collapse of clubs. When news of Wasps being close to funding to be in the Championship next season but a big stumbling block being the potential of continued ringfencing, hence not being able to get promoted, I couldn't help but crack a wry smile. You reap what you sow.

It's a bit like a much smaller scale version of what's starting to happen in international cricket. The boards of India, England and Australia (the big three in cricket) too over control as a cartel by throwing around their financial heft. The big money was in those three endlessly playing each other. The other Test nations were increasingly pushed to existing only as a warmup acts. As India has become more and more powerful the England and Australia boards have started looking around ever more meekly for help as they get shunted a similar way. Now the IPL is getting so big that soon the IPL owners will have even more power than the BCCI (Indian cricket board). Putting up a fence and locking the gate is great when you're on the right side of it!

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Post by carpet baboon Tue 30 May 2023, 10:58 am

Friend of a freind (so could be utter tosh) says the NFL are looking at having a franchise in either UK or Germany within the next 5 years and already have a few serious inquiries.

So them wanting LIs training facilities sounds quite plausible

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Post by Intotouch Tue 30 May 2023, 1:00 pm

Thank you King Carlos for that post and sharing your perspective.

What worries me most is that what’s happened/ happening at LI isn’t unusual now. From what I’ve read nearly all prem clubs are carrying huge debts, reducing the salary cap will help but isn’t going to fix this problem and revenue has been reduced somewhat not increased. How many more clubs will fold and how can this be stopped?

The French model works well partly because they can hire municipal stadia which isn’t possible in the England. Likewise even the RFU can’t afford to step in and rescue eight clubs if the debts are €200mill (estimate only).

I have long thought that the German pro football league, the approach that they had before they won their last World Cup, would be a good model for pro rugby in England. They were never the biggest or wealthiest league in Europe but managed to have both a strong national side and solvent medium sized clubs and kept many of their best players playing at home. Since winning that World Cup they ditched their salary cap but that previous model was a great success in many ways. It would take a German football fan to describe the details and not someone who dated one for a while so unfortunately I cant give more details around funding/ any government support etc.

Having grown up following a sport and an exciting, wonderful competition with no relegation (All Ireland Hurling Championship) I can promise you that younger rugby supporters won’t miss a model that has no relegation.It isn’t necessarily going to doom the prem.  No relegation can also mean young players taking their chance to show off their skills and play dramatic, exciting rugby and like the six nations fans can care about matches results whether or not there’s a severe cost at the end of it. What’s more important I think is keeping the pro clubs alive.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue 30 May 2023, 1:29 pm

Large parts of France also are rugby only areas with no football to compete against. English sports will always have to deal with the white elephant in the room that is Premiership football.

Latest news coming out of London Irish suggests RFU will be granting a extension to the timeline to conclude the US deal. So it's probably not as bleak as it was looking at the end of last week.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 30 May 2023, 1:53 pm

They have indeed been given another week, but need to pay the players and staff tomorrow, so it'll be a seesaw week.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 30 May 2023, 7:19 pm

A thought to throw out there.
For the purpose of listing teams I am assume the demise of London Irish and the final league positions for 22/23

What about two leagues of 8 teams.
Premiership would be the leading 8 teams so
that is - Saracens, Sales, Tigers, Saints, Bristol, Quins Bath and Exeter
The Championship would be the two bottom Premiership teams
Gloucester and Newcastle + the top 6 Championship teams - Jersey, Ealing, Pirates, Bedford, Coventry, Doncaster.

Teams from both leagues would play the other teams in their league twice and the teams in the other league once = 22 games a year.
It would reduce the gap between the two divisions.
Teams relegated would still get 9 games against current Premiership sides and the 6, current Championship sides would get 12 games against current Premiership sides.

As for relegation and promotion a simple ground limit could be in place such that its possible to progress but not easy.
Anyone in the Championship, with a capacity of 10,000, or more, would get automatic promotion if they win the Championship.
Any team with a capacity between 5,000 and 10,000 would have to play a playoff against the team bottom of the Premiership.
A team with a capacity of less than 5,000 would be barred from promotion even if they win the Championship.

This would give Championship sides an incentive to increase ground capacity to improve their chance of making the Premiership.
As I understand it only 2 teams I've listed in the Championship have capacities over 5000 (Doncaster and Bedford) but the other 4 are already around the 4,000 mark.

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