European Super League

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by tomsi_wyn, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. tomsi_wyn

    tomsi_wyn Guest

    Just had a thought while watching the dire Dragons v Connacht game. How many objections would there be to scrapping the domestic leagues and H.Cup and creating a European Super League of 4 division something like: (loosely based on the erc rankings)

    3.Leicester Tigers
    4.Stade Francais
    5.London Wasps

    7.London Irish

    1.Clermont Auvergne
    2.Newcastle Falcons
    9.Benetton Treviso

    3.Worcester Warriors
    9.Overmach Parma

    Teams could play each other twice with playoffs at the end, top/bottom two promoted/relegated
    There could still be a seperate knock out cup comp or something.

    Just though it might raise the standard a bit...for the Welsh regions ;-)
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  3. A great idea but considering there is a subsection of the rugby union community will fight any change or progress and they will be loud and noisy so i doubt it will ever happen.

    So long of course there is a system of promotion/relegation i like the idea. :)
  4. DonBilly

    DonBilly Guest

    I don't see this as a progress I like very much the Top14 and I don't see why it should be scrapped. You can merge the ML and the GP and make it a two division competition.

    I must be part of these guys I have no problem with the Top14 and I want to keep this domestic competition.

    Regarding the H-cup I'd prefer to change it to make it like the FA cup from the beginning, the way the Champion's Cup used to be played. It has lost its thrilling effect since they switch to a preliminary pool phase.
  5. Hopefully this will never happen, and nor would I want it to. Certainly wouldn't take place without Northampton being present, do you have any idea how much revenue would be lost if they were left out?

    The Magners League may need spicing up, but I'm sure the majority of English and French supporters are happy with the intensity of their respective domestic competitions.

    European competitions should be a seperate challenge, not the norm.
  6. candybum

    candybum Guest

    Sounds a bit like the World League format from 08 lol
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Guest

  8. getofmeland

    getofmeland Guest

    This would never happen in the European game...

    The Welsh regions may want it to happen because they are stuck in a league which in not competitive, and you get the same reward for finishing 1st, as your would if you finished 5th/6th...

    Currently the French and English leagues have this competitiveness built into their leagues, I don't know alot about the French Top 14 but if you have a look at this years Guinness Premiership, it has been one of the best, last year was a fantastic season as well with several teams all fighting for survival in the final game of the season, this season it will be several teams fighting for the playoffs... You potentially have 6 teams who could win the title... that's half the league split by 8 points!!!
  9. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    I love it that he's left out Northampton completely.
  10. getofmeland

    getofmeland Guest

    Well they are easily forgotten about :p
  11. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    Bunch of showboaters and bar-room brawlers 'to be sure!
  12. To an extent I agree with you. The standard of the Magners League is far better than it's given credit for by the English press (I can't comment on the French press because I'm not subjected to it enough). The Ospreys, Blues and Munster all made the Heineken Cup last 8 despite playing in a so called inferior tournament. Wales won the grand slam containing a squad full of Magners League participants.

    In my opinion the negative press the ML receives is directly related to the size of the market it focuses on. Ireland, Wales and Scotland combined only have a population of less than 15m, roughly 1/4 the size of either England or France. The effect of that is smaller TV revenue which directly feeds into the marketing budget. Sky's coverage/hype of the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup is magnificent, in large part due to the sum of money they spent on the rights to show those competitions. Despite the significantly smaller coverage, Leinster, Cardiff, Llanelli, Ospreys, Munster and Ulster are all big crowd pullers. The Scottish teams finally seem to be turning a corner with respect to increasing their crowds. Only the Dragons and Connacht lag behind, in large part due to neglect from their home Unions.

    One way of trying to invigorate the ML is to introduce playoffs. While I don't like the concept of playoffs at the end of a season when everybody has the same schedule (as opposed to American sport's playoffs), it certainly appeals to TV which directly relates to revenue. As far as I'm aware, playoffs are being introduced next season.

    Another option is to include a couple of Italian teams/regions/franchises. We've already seen the IRFU rationalize it's setup from clubs as the top tier to the provinces. Scotland has cut down it's districts from 3 to 2. Wales' implementation of regions is well documented. John Kirwan loudly voices his opinion that Italy should concentrate resources on just a couple of pro teams. I could be wrong but I think Nick Mallett has done the same. Should the FIR decide to fund a pair of pro teams, entry into the ML would be an excellent option for all parties. There is room for two more teams at present due to the demise of the Celtic Warriors and Borders. The other Unions would benefit from two extra home gates per year and also by tapping into Italy's market of 60m or so inhabitants.
  13. tomsi_wyn

    tomsi_wyn Guest

    Good points about the competetiveness of the guiness & top14, suppose it's me being a jealous welsh fan! I like your ideas snoopy snoopy.
  14. The competitiveness of the GP and T14 isn't a reason there wouldn't be a European Super League in my opinion. Money is what makes those leagues viable. I don't believe for a second that GP and T14 clubs wouldn't be all over the idea of a pan-European competition as the sole tournament if they could make more money for less games, a less cluttered season and open up a potentially bigger market.

    That beloved figure of Welsh rugby David Moffett had something interesting to say upon leaving his post as CEO:


    While some of Moffett's points look wide of the mark (such as pro rugby not being viable in Ireland and Wales), I feel he's spot on in his assessment that a single competition (like an enlarged Heineken Cup) would be the most profitable way to go for all sides. Anywhere from 36 to 40 teams playing a 20 game regular season followed by playoffs could become a cash cow if properly organised (not IPL-like money but certainly larger than the total of current TV contracts). It would also open up the possibility of expansion into new territories like Spain (where Biarritz have played HC quarter finals, Perpignan have planned to go and where Real Madrid and Barcelona have reportedly shown a keener interest in the sport than ever before), Portugal (to capitalise on qualifying for the world cup), Switzerland (where Bourgoin have played home games) and possibly Georgia, Romania and Russia (which has it's own pro league with average crowds of 3000+) down the line which would increase revenue exponentially.

    Such a league wouldn't require a cull of clubs from the Magners League, GP (including both Leeds and Northampton) or T14, merely the sponsorless Challenge Cup would be discarded (no loss) and Italy would have to concentrate their resources on perhaps 2 pro teams. French and English clubs would need to be given a say in the running of the tournament but that in my opinion is a very small price to pay given the potential riches it would bring participants along with the streamlining of the rugby calendar.

  15. Bullitt

    Bullitt Guest

    Funny how only supporters of the Celtic franchises say this is a good idea.

    Draw your own conclusions about the Magners league.
  16. Macsen

    Macsen Guest

    Hmmm it's a nice idea in theory but I don't think clubs would be happy to find themselves condemned from the premiership in their own country to the lower divisions. Like in football the top rung would probably get all the attention while the rest wither and die. Fans turn up to watch the opposition as well as their own team and it would probably hurt the clubs' income if there are no top teams in their division.

    I agree that Italy should get behind one or two regions and enter them in the Magners, the Roman Centurions and Venetian Dolphins. The Vatican could also enter a team, the New Saints. :p
  17. I disagree completely that Italy should dissolve their present club system in favour of regionalization of rugby. I think personally this is a terrible idea and would lower the popularity of rugby immensely. Canada 10 to 15 years ago was at the same level of development as Italy in terms of rugby ability and we acually regularly beat the Italian team. We brought in regional high performance units into our game thinking we could compete with the big guns of world rugby and it killed our club game. Its all fine and dandy for Wales, Scotland, and Ireland to have regional teams as your countries are so small... but for a Country like Canada or Italy its profoundly stupid as the scales of development are just so much different. Italy's tiered divisions with the Super 10 as the top level is perfectly fine for that country. All the clubs draw good crowds and the competition is developing.

    The problem I see with International rugby is that some view it as the bread and butter of the sport when it is clearly not. Rugby played at the club level is the bread and butter of the sport and if you kill that what international game do you really have. We don't even have a national club championship in Canada.. its bloody ridiculous part of the reason for this is travel costs. It costs me more to fly from Ontario to BC then it does for me to fly to the UK make sense of that. By implementing this stupid idea of regional, semi-professional, elite rugby whatever the hell you want to call it we are eliminating the people that really matter. The 90% that don't play elite rugby and simply play the game because they like representing their town or club and because they like rugby.

    Instead of taking that IRB money and forming a Canada East/West Competition what they should have done was scrap the Rugby Canada Super League and form a national competiton with five regional conferences. The conferences themselves are already setup and this would require no money from Rugby Canada. Atlantic Canada has the Aliant League, Quebec has their own league, Ontario has the Marshall league and the Barton league, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba all have their own leagues which coulb be unified with a little bit of subsidization, and BC has the CDI which is the best league in North America. Create a Cup competition with the top club from each reason facing off in a round robin style tournament with a playoff to crown the national champions. All this would be 100% subsidized by Rugby Canada with the money they don't spend on retarded RCSL teams or the NA4 or any other stupid competition they are trying to emulate Europe with. This sort of event would allow local sponsors to get behind the teams and would see an influx of money into the game of rugby.

    Now I got a little bit off topic with that rant but I think the same principal applies to Italy and they are going about it the right way. A lot of the clubs in Italy have a very large fanbase within their local districts they represent. Regionalizing rugby would kill that. It would also kill all the sponsorship money being put into Italian rugby. See the problem I see with rugby development is that we as the minnows and the tier 2 nations are getting all this stupid advice from Welshmen, Englishmen, NZ, etc when they don't have a clue as to how each nation will act differently in terms of how a competition should be setup. Now setting up regional sides on Italy looks great on paper and sure it will help them in the short term but what the hell happens to all the fans of rugby in lets say Parma, Catania, Padova, and other regions which won't get a team they are going to disappear. I say Italy push on your doing a good job don't listen to the welsh, english, irish, anzacs, in terms of the way you develop your game like we so foolishly did.

    As the old saying goes if you want something done right do it yourself!
  18. stormmaster1

    stormmaster1 Guest

    As a Tigers fan, i'd strongly object to not getting to play our rivals every year (i.e. Bath, Saints and Wasps) whereas games versus Toulouse and Munster should be more rare special occaisions, not part of the routine league.
  19. Great post Canadian Rugger. It's interesting hearing another perspective and hard to argue that huge mistakes were made with regards developing rugby in Canada. However I think Italy's situation is completely different.

    For example, I don't argue that Italy's Super 10 should be disolved. It absolutely must be retained. However new regional teams in sensible locations playing at a higher level could work. For example, it would be crazy putting a team south of Rome since rugby doesn't have a foothold there. Also, Italy will play/have played internationals in Rome, Bologna, Turin and Genoa recently demonstrating there's a market for the sport in those cities - combined those cities have one team in the Super 10, Capitolina of Rome.

    I've taken a quick look at the websites of all Super 10 teams and to say they have good crowds is an exaggeration. All the photos show sparsely populated stadiums; only Petrarca seem to draw reasonable crowds. I'd highly doubt the league averages even 3000 fans per game (especially since only 3 grounds seem to have a capacity above that figure). A question I'd ask is whether 2 or 3 teams containing primarily Italian internationals (which the Super 10 can't provide) in larger catchment areas (but still in Italy's rugby heartland i.e. the north and Rome) and competing in a pan-European competition (currently Italian teams in small markets who compete in the Heineken Cup draw poor crowds) would generate bigger crowds on a regular basis. I firmly believe that they would. To help back up my point, here's the opinion of a few non-"welsh, english, irish, Anzac" rugby fans from the Italian National team thread:


    You've argued that redrawing a league in a country the size of Canada or Italy is foolhardy. If done incorrectly (like in Canada), it's a grave error. If done correctly, it will lead to a massive spurt in the sports popularity. One can only look at the growth of the A-League (three years in and average crowds hover around 14,000) in place of the ailing National Soccer League in Australia (an example I chose because the size and population roughly equates to Canada) to see what can be achieved.

    Sponsorship money wouldn't be killed, it would be redistributed on a far larger scale. Here's an article from May 1, 2008 which can be adapted to suit a European competition (the article is a good read although it's not one I'd completely agree with):


    In essence, a larger competition (complete with the principle of revenue sharing as illustrated in the above article) brings in more revenue through TV money and sponsorship than the existing structure. The extra money can be used to grow the grassroots – in Ireland's case it's more schemes like the Tallaght strategy, in Italy's case the Super 10 clubs, in the French and English case it can line the pockets of the owners to a far greater extent than is currently the case (which is no bad thing). I believe this is what David Moffett was looking to achieve with his proposal. It's what John Kirwan and Nick Mallett, guys with a vested interest in Italian rugby, have advocated. Sure, there would be some losers (however who's to say that existing Super 10 clubs can't apply to be part of the league?) but the overall gain far outweighs that. Down the line Georgian, Spanish, Portugese, Romanian , Russian, German etc teams could be added.

    The same Magners League which provides a Heineken Cup finalist again? The same Magners League which provides the winner of the EDF Energy Cup (leaving aside it's faults for the minute)? The same Magners League which is home of the bulk of the 6 Nations Grand Slam winners? The same Magners League which by the end of next season will see 6 of it's 10 clubs play in large stadiums built over the last 5 years and which also own their own grounds? The same Magners League which sees it's average attendances grow exponentially year on year. The Magners League isn't a bad competition and the top 5 or 6 clubs are on a par with the top 5 or 6 in England and France. What it lacks is comparable financing and media coverage, a direct result of the smaller population base it serves.
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