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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 Irish Londoner Wed 07 Jun 2023, 10:24 am

124 years of rugby history gone in a day. Gutted for the players, coaches, staff, and fans.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 07 Jun 2023, 1:38 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:It would appear a fair challenge on the number of English clubs now qualifying in a 24 club competition. There was a move a few years back to lower the number but the URC in a previous incarnation rejected it.

Commercial reality will kick in, given it is French and English TV audiences that fund the competition. Less English clubs, less TV money. Also given French and English clubs have had to accept SA clubs in the competition and the subsequent logistical costs, it would be a bit rich for subsequent demands when there have been changes to the English league.

Last time i checked the TV audiences were much hire in the URC than the Premiership. I can't see that being helped with less games and less teams. I'd be amazed if English Rugby will secure even the same TV deal they currently have.

The populations in the URC countries is significantly higher than in England. And France bring simply higher viewership and money to the tournament. The majority of the TV deal BT signed with Premiership rugby went directly to the PRL who passed most of it on to the clubs with a much smaller amount heading to the Champions Cup coffers to split by the various countries. From my sources the English contribution is not comparable to the French and Irish when you factor both Sponsorship revenues and TV deals into it.

European rugby has already said they want to look at reducing the amount of teams qualifying for Champions Cup rugby and I'll be very surprised if English qualification is at the top of their list.

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Post by Welshmushroom Wed 07 Jun 2023, 1:39 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:124 years of rugby history gone in a day. Gutted for the players, coaches, staff, and fans.

It is very gutting for the fans, players and staff.

Really disappointing outcome.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 07 Jun 2023, 1:54 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote:It would appear a fair challenge on the number of English clubs now qualifying in a 24 club competition. There was a move a few years back to lower the number but the URC in a previous incarnation rejected it.

Commercial reality will kick in, given it is French and English TV audiences that fund the competition. Less English clubs, less TV money. Also given French and English clubs have had to accept SA clubs in the competition and the subsequent logistical costs, it would be a bit rich for subsequent demands when there have been changes to the English league.

Last time i checked the TV audiences were much hire in the URC than the Premiership.  I can't see that being helped with less games and less teams.  I'd be amazed if English Rugby will secure even the same TV deal they currently have.

The populations in the URC countries is significantly higher than in England. And France bring simply higher viewership and money to the tournament. The majority of the TV deal BT signed with Premiership rugby went directly to the PRL who passed most of it on to the clubs with a much smaller amount heading to the Champions Cup coffers to split by the various countries.  From my sources the English contribution is not comparable to the French and Irish when you factor both Sponsorship revenues and TV deals into it.  

European rugby has already said they want to look at reducing the amount of teams qualifying for Champions Cup rugby and I'll be very surprised if English qualification is at the top of their list.  

Adding more French would be very popular in France I'm sure. Not sure it would necessarily be ok for the rest though. Depends if the French feel they have the voting power. And can the English afford to withdraw as they've done before if they feel hard done by, my guess is they may feel forced to.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 07 Jun 2023, 2:24 pm

They're filing for administration.

From Crossan: '...The professional game in this country needs to be radically transformed. And the current leadership must urgently review its practices from top to bottom if it has a desire to see professional rugby continue in England....'

I'm guessing he's pointing the finger at the RFU? Is it time they merely say yeah you're right you couldn't run a drink in a brewery and just start laying down the law to owners and run the leagues as they see fit?

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Post by Poorfour Wed 07 Jun 2023, 2:30 pm

Mick Crossan has issued an open letter in which he explains some of the context and attributes a bit of blame. It's a useful data point but the other parties involved will undoubtedly have a different perspective.

RugbyPass article on open letter from Mick Crossan

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Post by Kingshu Wed 07 Jun 2023, 4:17 pm

Not sure why this idea hasn't bee flaored before. 8 years ago the RFU paid £225m for access to players, EQ player quotas academy players etc, that deal is due to expire. But to me doing the same again is just like renting a property, you have no return on that investment in the end.

CVC brought 27% of the Premiership for £200m, since then with 3 clubs going bust, and tighter salary caps the share value of the premiership must have fallen significantly.

Could for about £300m the RFU buy the remaing premiership shares, (yes it would be less than CVC paid, but would have the condition they do not take out profits like CVC) and make the premiership rules on EQ player release etc, rather than paying similar every 8 years?

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Post by Poorfour Wed 07 Jun 2023, 4:43 pm

Kingshu wrote:Not sure why this idea hasn't bee flaored before. 8 years ago the RFU paid £225m for access to players, EQ player quotas academy players etc, that deal is due to expire. But to me doing the same again is just like renting a property, you have no return on that investment in the end.

CVC brought 27% of the Premiership for £200m, since then with 3 clubs going bust, and tighter salary caps the share value of the premiership must have fallen significantly.

Could for about £300m the RFU buy the remaing premiership shares, (yes it would be less than CVC paid, but would have the condition they do not take out profits like CVC) and make the premiership rules  on EQ player release etc, rather than paying similar every 8 years?

From the perspective of a club owner, if I've read your proposal right:
- Each surviving club would get a £30m lump sum (probably enough to clear most of their debt, or at least reduce it to a manageable number)
- There would be no ongoing income from the RFU
- They would cede control of their star players in perpetuity

From the perspective of the RFU:
- They get control of their players that's comparable to the IRFU and NZRU
- They're swapping an annual cost of abour £28m for a £300m one-off lump sum
- £300m is about 50% more than the exceptional profit they earned from RWC 2015 (and spent on their currently underutilised hospitality suite)

It feels like a better deal for the RFU than the clubs, but the clubs might just be desperate enough to take it. However, I doubt the RFU has that sort of money on hand. It was hit very hard by the pandemic and a drop in corporate hospitality too and has been cutting its budgets for things like community rugby.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Wed 07 Jun 2023, 6:27 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html

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Post by Heaf Wed 07 Jun 2023, 7:02 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html


So maybe I should write to BT asking for a discount too then?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 07 Jun 2023, 7:42 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html

It's almost like BT have only got one year left on their contract with Premiership Rugby and are getting ready for big negotiations. BT Sport has also been bought out by Discovery whatever it's called that own Eurosport and similar. The new owners might not view rugby as a big draw like the old ones. There's a lot of politics behind the rebate situation and more than just certain clubs no longer existing.

If BT has automatically got the rights to the new comp with Championship Clubs at the start of the season they'll be reaching more fans than before anyway.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 07 Jun 2023, 9:39 pm

Talks taking place between England Irish unions for the Irish to sponsor/fund the team.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 08 Jun 2023, 5:36 am

Kingshu wrote:Not sure why this idea hasn't bee flaored before. 8 years ago the RFU paid £225m for access to players, EQ player quotas academy players etc, that deal is due to expire. But to me doing the same again is just like renting a property, you have no return on that investment in the end.

CVC brought 27% of the Premiership for £200m, since then with 3 clubs going bust, and tighter salary caps the share value of the premiership must have fallen significantly.

Could for about £300m the RFU buy the remaing premiership shares, (yes it would be less than CVC paid, but would have the condition they do not take out profits like CVC) and make the premiership rules  on EQ player release etc, rather than paying similar every 8 years?

I was under the impression the RFU had very little money to play with, I'm not sure where this 300m would come from Kingshu.

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Post by mountain man Thu 08 Jun 2023, 7:55 am

I thought RFU had lots of cash? Where is all the millions generated by Internationals going?

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 08 Jun 2023, 7:59 am

mountain man wrote:I thought RFU had lots of cash? Where is all the millions generated by Internationals going?

https://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/all/domestic-club-rugby-union/375886/crisis-as-rfu-hit-by-50m-bombshell/




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Post by Oakdene Thu 08 Jun 2023, 8:30 am

Heaf wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html


So maybe I should write to BT asking for a discount too then?  

A discount for what? Presumably they will be showing the same amount of games?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 08 Jun 2023, 8:33 am

I'm pretty sure that the P shares revert back to the PRL if administration strikes or that they are purchased at a set fee with the money going to settle rugby creditors. Judging by Wasps players saying they are still owed money I suspect that it's the latter.

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Post by Irish Londoner Thu 08 Jun 2023, 10:06 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html

It's almost like BT have only got one year left on their contract with Premiership Rugby and are getting ready for big negotiations. BT Sport has also been bought out by Discovery whatever it's called that own Eurosport and similar. The new owners might not view rugby as a big draw like the old ones. There's a lot of politics behind the rebate situation and more than just certain clubs no longer existing.

If BT has automatically got the rights to the new comp with Championship Clubs at the start of the season they'll be reaching more fans than before anyway.

BT bought the rights to English and European rugby when they were starting the BT Sports channels and didn't have a huge amount of content - apart from a few Premiership football matches and a lot of imported stuff via ESPN - at the time they basically overbid to get it off SKY. They also thought that getting rugby would be a prestigious acquisition based on their perception of what the average rugby fan was like - middle class, fairly affluent, and distinct from the football audience. The mistake they made was that the rugby games that get the large viewers are the 6Ns, the RWC, the AIs and the Lions - not the domestic club game.

I can see BT and SKY having a reverse bidding war in the sense of "who actually wants this?" - there's always a lot of noise up here in the north about "rugby league should be getting a better broadcast deal from SKY or it should go elsewhere" and at the last contract SKY basically called RL's bluff and said "here's the (reduced) deal take it or leave it" and the RFL found that they were better off taking it.

The two big subscriber channels see rugby (both codes) mostly as a schedule filler not as a prime product - the fact BT are now putting the cup finals on free to air shows that.

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Post by Oakdene Thu 08 Jun 2023, 10:16 am

Irish Londoner wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html

It's almost like BT have only got one year left on their contract with Premiership Rugby and are getting ready for big negotiations. BT Sport has also been bought out by Discovery whatever it's called that own Eurosport and similar. The new owners might not view rugby as a big draw like the old ones. There's a lot of politics behind the rebate situation and more than just certain clubs no longer existing.

If BT has automatically got the rights to the new comp with Championship Clubs at the start of the season they'll be reaching more fans than before anyway.

BT bought the rights to English and European rugby when they were starting the BT Sports channels and didn't have a huge amount of content - apart from a few Premiership football matches and a lot of imported stuff via ESPN - at the time they basically overbid to get it off SKY. They also thought that getting rugby would be a prestigious acquisition based on their perception of what the average rugby fan was like - middle class, fairly affluent, and distinct from the football audience. The mistake they made was that the rugby games that get the large viewers are the 6Ns, the RWC, the AIs and the Lions - not the domestic club game.

I can see BT and SKY having a reverse bidding war in the sense of "who actually wants this?" - there's always a lot of noise up here in the north about "rugby league should be getting a better broadcast deal from SKY or it should go elsewhere" and at the last contract SKY basically called RL's bluff and said "here's the (reduced) deal take it or leave it" and the RFL found that they were better off taking it.

The two big subscriber channels see rugby (both codes) mostly as a schedule filler not as a prime product - the fact BT are now putting the cup finals on free to air shows that.

They have always done that as far as I know.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 08 Jun 2023, 10:25 am

Irish Londoner wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html

It's almost like BT have only got one year left on their contract with Premiership Rugby and are getting ready for big negotiations. BT Sport has also been bought out by Discovery whatever it's called that own Eurosport and similar. The new owners might not view rugby as a big draw like the old ones. There's a lot of politics behind the rebate situation and more than just certain clubs no longer existing.

If BT has automatically got the rights to the new comp with Championship Clubs at the start of the season they'll be reaching more fans than before anyway.

BT bought the rights to English and European rugby when they were starting the BT Sports channels and didn't have a huge amount of content - apart from a few Premiership football matches and a lot of imported stuff via ESPN - at the time they basically overbid to get it off SKY. They also thought that getting rugby would be a prestigious acquisition based on their perception of what the average rugby fan was like - middle class, fairly affluent, and distinct from the football audience. The mistake they made was that the rugby games that get the large viewers are the 6Ns, the RWC, the AIs and the Lions - not the domestic club game.

I can see BT and SKY having a reverse bidding war in the sense of "who actually wants this?" - there's always a lot of noise up here in the north about "rugby league should be getting a better broadcast deal from SKY or it should go elsewhere" and at the last contract SKY basically called RL's bluff and said "here's the (reduced) deal take it or leave it" and the RFL found that they were better off taking it.

The two big subscriber channels see rugby (both codes) mostly as a schedule filler not as a prime product - the fact BT are now putting the cup finals on free to air shows that.

I think you may want to a fact check on this one.....

BT Sports and ITV did a deal in 2022 that involves a handful of live games and the Premiership final being shown on ITV.

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Post by Heaf Thu 08 Jun 2023, 11:08 am

Oakdene wrote:
Heaf wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html


So maybe I should write to BT asking for a discount too then?  

A discount for what? Presumably they will be showing the same amount of games?

I suppose they could cover more games each weekend than they do now but there will be fewer rounds, ie weekends, with a 10 league team ...

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Post by Oakdene Thu 08 Jun 2023, 11:12 am

Heaf wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
Heaf wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote: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.
I guess I respect your optimism, but I really don't think some of you are grasping how dire a situation this is. Less teams will NOT mean more tv money, certainly not in the long run.

BT are already demanding a "multi million pound rebate" for the competition getting smaller. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-12170243/Premiership-Rugby-facing-BT-Sport-rebate-demands-London-Irish-suspension.html


So maybe I should write to BT asking for a discount too then?  

A discount for what? Presumably they will be showing the same amount of games?

I suppose they could cover more games each weekend than they do now but there will be fewer rounds, ie weekends, with a 10 league team ...

I guess it depends if in the terms & conditions they promise to show "x amount of Premiership Rugby" games a season.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 08 Jun 2023, 12:34 pm

I’d be surprised if the contract doesn’t stipulate the number of games per weekend and the number of rounds to be covered. It may also go into more detail on things like how many times a club can be featured, how many times a club can be asked to change its fixture time (eg to Friday night) and so on. It should have provision as well for changes in the league structure (eg I think the contract was written when the league was 12 teams anyway, so they’ve accommodated upward to 13).

Ultimately I suspect the broadcasters will be less bothered about the absolute number of teams and rounds than the number of matches and the number of weekends they can fill - and that allows for some options.

For instance, one possibility that springs to mind would be that with fewer teams they can spread out the Christmas schedule, maybe even to the point that one round is spread over 2 full weeks. That would allow for each match to be the feature match for that date with 3 on the weekends and perhaps Quins’ Big Game and one other match played midweek. The broadcaster could make a big deal of the tension and timings, and the players get more time off over Christmas. Maybe they could do something similar around the Easter break.

The current contract covers 3 of the 6 matches each weekend, IIRC, over 22 or 24 rounds - so 66 to 72 matches. So if they did all 5 matches at Christmas and Easter and spread them over 3 weekends, that would give the 22 weeks of coverage and the same number of matches if they covered 4 matches in most rounds.
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Post by Oakdene Thu 08 Jun 2023, 1:18 pm

Poorfour wrote:I’d be surprised if the contract doesn’t stipulate the number of games per weekend and the number of rounds to be covered. It may also go into more detail on things like how many times a club can be featured, how many times a club can be asked to change its fixture time (eg to Friday night) and so on. It should have provision as well for changes in the league structure (eg I think the contract was written when the league was 12 teams anyway, so they’ve accommodated upward to 13).

Ultimately I suspect the broadcasters will be less bothered about the absolute number of teams and rounds than the number of matches and the number of weekends they can fill - and that allows for some options.

For instance, one possibility that springs to mind would be that with fewer teams they can spread out the Christmas schedule, maybe even to the point that one round is spread over 2 full weeks. That would allow for each match to be the feature match for that date with 3 on the weekends and perhaps Quins’ Big Game and one other match played midweek. The broadcaster could make a big deal of the tension and timings, and the players get more time off over Christmas. Maybe they could do something similar around the Easter break.

The current contract covers 3 of the 6 matches each weekend, IIRC, over 22 or 24 rounds - so 66 to 72 matches. So if they did all 5 matches at Christmas and Easter and spread them over 3 weekends, that would give the 22 weeks of coverage and the same number of matches if they covered 4 matches in most rounds.

Sorry I meant the contract between a customer & BT Sport.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:05 pm

Oakdene wrote:
Sorry I meant the contract between a customer & BT Sport.

I'd be hugely surprised if that were in anyone's viewing contract - it would in effect make them a hostage to fortune as one customer with a legacy contract could in theory compel them to show rugby forever... Contract lawyers are generally smarter than that! You'll be entitled to watch whatever sport is included in the package you've paid for, but they'll reserve the right to vary that package from time to time.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Talks taking place between England Irish unions for the Irish to sponsor/fund the team.

Or not. Does sound like there's quiet talks going on though.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/65844963

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Post by Oakdene Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:16 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
Sorry I meant the contract between a customer & BT Sport.

I'd be hugely surprised if that were in anyone's viewing contract - it would in effect make them a hostage to fortune as one customer with a legacy contract could in theory compel them to show rugby forever... Contract lawyers are generally smarter than that! You'll be entitled to watch whatever sport is included in the package you've paid for, but they'll reserve the right to vary that package from time to time.

Yes I agree, my earlier comments were in reference to a poster writing to BT to ask for a discount.

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:28 pm

Looking at the pretext for BT I'm guessing is not a priority for them. Viewing numbers haven't been inspiring.

I'll be amazed if the PRL can get anywhere near the last deal after expires next year.

The RFU is in big trouble financially as well with an expected loss of 45 million to 50 million for the 22/23 year. RFU are currently trying to restructure their costs so I can't see the next English player access agreement with the PRL yielding anywhere near the previous deals. Sources at the RFU have already confirmed they believe they overpaid the initial contract.

Those 2 facts alone are really worrying. The fact clubs will still go back to the old salary cap next year just goes to show how the PRL in terms of voting system simply won't work.

I sense London Irish may not be the last of the clubs going to the wall if my predictions above transpire.

Not sure how many more Premiership sides the PRL can afford to lose at this point though.....

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Post by Lowlandbrit Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:46 pm

Might be better off in the long run trying to do a cheaper deal with ITV, if they can afford to in the short term...

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:56 pm

To be honest they should never have left Sky. I doubt Sky will take them back at this point given how the initial separation was handled.

Free to Air TV will be an option I guess but will be nowhere near the BT money. Probably the smart play though to grow the product in the public eye. But given finances now might be the wrong time to play Russian roulette.

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Post by Oakdene Thu 08 Jun 2023, 2:58 pm

Be interesting to see if Amazon are interested...

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Post by king_carlos Thu 08 Jun 2023, 4:08 pm

BT have backed the Premiership very well. When covid hit they made the final broadcast payment of that season in full and early despite having no guarantee of games to show for it for instance. That was a lifeline many clubs desperately needed at the time.

Moving to BT wasn't a mistake regardless of them having some dire pundits and them understandably considering trying to get a rebate now for the final season of the deal. It was a really good broadcast deal for the league to get at a time when it was a stronger standard.

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Post by Heaf Thu 08 Jun 2023, 4:11 pm

Oakdene wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
Sorry I meant the contract between a customer & BT Sport.

I'd be hugely surprised if that were in anyone's viewing contract - it would in effect make them a hostage to fortune as one customer with a legacy contract could in theory compel them to show rugby forever... Contract lawyers are generally smarter than that! You'll be entitled to watch whatever sport is included in the package you've paid for, but they'll reserve the right to vary that package from time to time.

Yes I agree, my earlier comments were in reference to a poster writing to BT to ask for a discount.

It was just a tongue-in-cheek comment given BT were apparently asking PRL for a refund ...

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 08 Jun 2023, 10:55 pm

If you were a broadcast network - cable, over the air, or whatever - why would you want to work with the PRL?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 09 Jun 2023, 7:50 am

king_carlos wrote:BT have backed the Premiership very well. When covid hit they made the final broadcast payment of that season in full and early despite having no guarantee of games to show for it for instance. That was a lifeline many clubs desperately needed at the time.

Moving to BT wasn't a mistake regardless of them having some dire pundits and them understandably considering trying to get a rebate now for the final season of the deal. It was a really good broadcast deal for the league to get at a time when it was a stronger standard.

Yeah cause all the Sky pundits were great....

BT has given Prem rugby way more coverage than Sky bothered to. At Sky rugby is always the poor relation to football. BT was a great deal for the sport in this country.

BT has been purchased by Warner Discovery who own ESPN. There's some rumours those sports offerings will be merged at some point. Adding rugby would be a good option as ESPN does tend to pick up a lot of sports that aren't quite mainstream. They've got lots of tennis and cycling for instance. Having the rugby and European Football is a good chance to boost their image ahead of the Olympics where they've got the primary viewing rights I believe.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Fri 09 Jun 2023, 10:03 am

That's correct, over the summer it'll mainly be a branding change with BT Sport becoming TNT Sport. Warner have Eurosport too but there is a good chance that they might keep Eurosport branding until after the 2024 Olympics.

But once that's merged into TNT Sport it's catelog will include: the Olympic Games, the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Premiership Rugby, MotoGP, UFC, Boxing, WWE, tennis Grand Slams, cycling Grand Tours and the winter sports season.

Everything probably moves to a single online app (Discovery +).

The calendar is what all these bodies will go after. The likes of that extra international test in the Autumn Series. If PRL are smaller in number, that weekend overlap could be jettisoned. But the PRL won't want that. They'll want the weekend (weekends are worth money). So play the 'player safety card' and introduce another bye week for everybody to spread a smaller number of games over the same number of weekends.

The Top14 will have a similar thought. But they'll be after a weekend or two from the European competitions.

The European tv money should go up though, as soon as the next renewal comes in, you factor in an SA sport mad market that was driving a large proportion of Super Rugby income for years. And the appeal of that might keep the number of teams in that top comp higher. Maybe.

All interesting stuff. People here talking about english salary cap going up also. There isn't enough cash in the clubs as it is to cover current overheads and salaries. At almost any club, except for Exeter. If anything, 3 clubs going under within a year of each other should be creating a demand that the salary cap needs to go down by a mil! But the PRL control that, it would be like the scene of the pirate kings at Pirates of Caribbean.

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Post by Welshmushroom Fri 09 Jun 2023, 10:49 am

thebandwagonsociety wrote:

All interesting stuff. People here talking about english salary cap going up also. There isn't enough cash in the clubs as it is to cover current overheads and salaries. At almost any club, except for Exeter. If anything, 3 clubs going under within a year of each other should be creating a demand that the salary cap needs to go down by a mil! But the PRL control that, it would be like the scene of the pirate kings at Pirates of Caribbean.

My understanding is that its not talk from people here. Two of the clubs owners in the Premiership want it to go through and given the voting structure in PRL the other 8 can't stop it.

It's one of the big structural problems in the PRL. They should have a NFL style commissioner who basically makes all fundamental cap and league decisions on the basis of all clubs in the league, while not answering to any of the owners. That way no owners can impact how the league is managed. I suspect however owners wouldn't approve this to begin with.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 11:26 am

Welshmushroom wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:

All interesting stuff. People here talking about english salary cap going up also. There isn't enough cash in the clubs as it is to cover current overheads and salaries. At almost any club, except for Exeter. If anything, 3 clubs going under within a year of each other should be creating a demand that the salary cap needs to go down by a mil! But the PRL control that, it would be like the scene of the pirate kings at Pirates of Caribbean.

My understanding is that its not talk from people here.  Two of the clubs owners in the Premiership want it to go through and given the voting structure in PRL the other 8 can't stop it.

It's one of the big structural problems in the PRL.  They should have a NFL style commissioner who basically makes all fundamental cap and league decisions on the basis of all clubs in the league, while not answering to any of the owners.  That way no owners can impact how the league is managed.  I suspect however owners wouldn't approve this to begin with.

I wasn't aware that the PRL didnt adopt majority votes on commercial considerations ? Salary caps would be a key strategic financial decision for all the clubs.

The clubs cover their running costs but the problem has been covering their debt costs which take priority when creditors insist on repayment. It is no coincidence that two of the three clubs that have failed financially were originally based in London where land and construction costs are simply too big for rugby union revenues. London Irish had a good deal at the Madejski, whereas Wasps were always on shaky financial ground, whether it was Loftus Road, High Wycombe or the Ricoh in Coventry. It is nothing short of miraculous that Saracens have their own London stadium although they did spend a long time at Watford's Vicarage Road, which was a dump of a ground. Both LI & Wasps took ambitious investments to break that renting doom loop and Covid ran their balance sheets into the ground and have failed.

The next TV deals will be in interesting and the new FA cup style competition with Championship produces giant killing games, perhaps not initially, but will happen. There should be plenty of fixtures but broadcasters will undoubtedly feel they have the upper hand.

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Post by Kingshu Fri 09 Jun 2023, 12:12 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Kingshu wrote:Not sure why this idea hasn't bee flaored before. 8 years ago the RFU paid £225m for access to players, EQ player quotas academy players etc, that deal is due to expire. But to me doing the same again is just like renting a property, you have no return on that investment in the end.

CVC brought 27% of the Premiership for £200m, since then with 3 clubs going bust, and tighter salary caps the share value of the premiership must have fallen significantly.

Could for about £300m the RFU buy the remaing premiership shares, (yes it would be less than CVC paid, but would have the condition they do not take out profits like CVC) and make the premiership rules  on EQ player release etc, rather than paying similar every 8 years?

I was under the impression the RFU had very little money to play with, I'm not sure where this 300m would come from Kingshu.

Just to go back to this RFU would have been planning on renewing its deal with Premiership rugby that was about £30m a year for 8 years, so maybe able to take out a loan and pay £30m a year for 12 years or so, in long run would be cheaper than next 2 renewals of the deal, and they have own 51% or more of premiership at end of it, instead of renting, by 3rd renewal they would be saving money.

For clubs its a cash injection like CVC deal, but a big plus is they wont have a large % taken out like CVC does, the RFU agrees to return its share of income to the teams.

They can even set up a commission like posters mentioned about to run the league in RFU and all clubs interests in regards to salary cap, %of overseas players etc etc.

It makes a lot of sense for RFU, and would end Club V country battles.

For clubs cash injection clears debt, but would they be able to run without the RFU 2.5m per club per season income?

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Post by Welshmushroom Fri 09 Jun 2023, 12:28 pm

From a PRL perspective 10 years ago I understood the club vs country battle that was going on. They could see viable ways of gaining further money was to control various country internationals and then ransoming those Unions for additional release payments.

But now are different times and this model simply can't work in England. France are now the powerhouse of club rugby and even they haven't gone down this route, often preferring to only sign overseas players that will either end their international careers or switch to qualify for JIFF or French international honors.

It's probably in the best interest of the club game in England to work outside of international windows and stop the country clashes.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 09 Jun 2023, 12:48 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:From a PRL perspective 10 years ago I understood the club vs country battle that was going on.  They could see viable ways of gaining further money was to control various country internationals and then ransoming those Unions for additional release payments.

But now are different times and this model simply can't work in England.  France are now the powerhouse of club rugby and even they haven't gone down this route, often preferring to only sign overseas players that will either end their international careers or switch to qualify for JIFF or French international honors.

It's probably in the best interest of the club game in England to work outside of international windows and stop the country clashes.
The PRL now have enough to be dealing with, they should hand the reigns of the HC back to the unions, where it thrived previously.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 1:30 pm

https://www.premiershiprugby.com/news/premiership-rugby-clubs-unanimously-vote-to-temporarily-reduce-the-salary-cap

I mean there may have been further votes which you're talking about but the increase of the cap again was voted unanimously through.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 1:34 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:From a PRL perspective 10 years ago I understood the club vs country battle that was going on.  They could see viable ways of gaining further money was to control various country internationals and then ransoming those Unions for additional release payments.

But now are different times and this model simply can't work in England.  France are now the powerhouse of club rugby and even they haven't gone down this route, often preferring to only sign overseas players that will either end their international careers or switch to qualify for JIFF or French international honors.

It's probably in the best interest of the club game in England to work outside of international windows and stop the country clashes.
The PRL now have enough to be dealing with, they should hand the reigns of the HC back to the unions, where it thrived previously.

You think it's just the PRL who decide on all things Europe?

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Post by king_carlos Fri 09 Jun 2023, 2:10 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:https://www.premiershiprugby.com/news/premiership-rugby-clubs-unanimously-vote-to-temporarily-reduce-the-salary-cap

I mean there may have been further votes which you're talking about but the increase of the cap again was voted unanimously through.
Apparently, the only way they could get the unanimous vote to temporarily reduce the cap following COVID was if all the P-share clubs also voted for it to go up again from 2024/25.

P-shares were the greed fuelled disaster which started this death spiral, sadly.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 09 Jun 2023, 3:17 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:From a PRL perspective 10 years ago I understood the club vs country battle that was going on.  They could see viable ways of gaining further money was to control various country internationals and then ransoming those Unions for additional release payments.

But now are different times and this model simply can't work in England.  France are now the powerhouse of club rugby and even they haven't gone down this route, often preferring to only sign overseas players that will either end their international careers or switch to qualify for JIFF or French international honors.

It's probably in the best interest of the club game in England to work outside of international windows and stop the country clashes.
The PRL now have enough to be dealing with, they should hand the reigns of the HC back to the unions, where it thrived previously.

You think it's just the PRL who decide on all things Europe?
One of two major players in getting the comp off the unions, which has turned out to be a disaster.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 3:52 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:From a PRL perspective 10 years ago I understood the club vs country battle that was going on.  They could see viable ways of gaining further money was to control various country internationals and then ransoming those Unions for additional release payments.

But now are different times and this model simply can't work in England.  France are now the powerhouse of club rugby and even they haven't gone down this route, often preferring to only sign overseas players that will either end their international careers or switch to qualify for JIFF or French international honors.

It's probably in the best interest of the club game in England to work outside of international windows and stop the country clashes.
The PRL now have enough to be dealing with, they should hand the reigns of the HC back to the unions, where it thrived previously.

You think it's just the PRL who decide on all things Europe?
One of two major players in getting the comp off the unions, which has turned out to be a disaster.

Why is it a disaster though? I never get this.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 3:53 pm

king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:https://www.premiershiprugby.com/news/premiership-rugby-clubs-unanimously-vote-to-temporarily-reduce-the-salary-cap

I mean there may have been further votes which you're talking about but the increase of the cap again was voted unanimously through.
Apparently, the only way they could get the unanimous vote to temporarily reduce the cap following COVID was if all the P-share clubs also voted for it to go up again from 2024/25.

P-shares were the greed fuelled disaster which started this death spiral, sadly.

Meh just wondering where the thought lt that it only got 2 votes came from.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 09 Jun 2023, 4:24 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:https://www.premiershiprugby.com/news/premiership-rugby-clubs-unanimously-vote-to-temporarily-reduce-the-salary-cap

I mean there may have been further votes which you're talking about but the increase of the cap again was voted unanimously through.
Apparently, the only way they could get the unanimous vote to temporarily reduce the cap following COVID was if all the P-share clubs also voted for it to go up again from 2024/25.

P-shares were the greed fuelled disaster which started this death spiral, sadly.

Meh just wondering where the thought lt that it only got 2 votes came from.
Reports at the time were that most clubs wanted to reduce the cap indefinitely with a built in plan to discuss raising it for 2024/25 pending a fresh vote. Apparently 2 clubs, rumoured to be Sarries and Bristol from memory, would only agree the reduction if the agreement also guaranteed the cap going back up "to at least it's current level". So that's what everyone agreed on.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 4:45 pm

Ah. So a misunderstanding above.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 09 Jun 2023, 4:46 pm

Bristol take the European spot anyway.

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