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[MegaThread] RFU Top Flight Future

die_mole

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hmm I didn't know the RFU was talking to NATO

"I think everything is on the table to be discussed," Sweeney said. "There are certain phrases which are like nuclear buttons, and the phrase 'central contracts' tends to have that nuclear effect.

"In terms of the higher salaries for the elite players, the time they spend playing for England and the time they spend playing for their club – is there a different way we can work with PRL and work with the clubs in order to mitigate the expense they are facing on that side of things and have a better structure in place so we achieve greater financial stability for the clubs and we also achieve better quality of players coming into the national team? I would say that all of these possibilities are on the table because of what's happened.

"I don't like using the phrase but this has created an opportunity, but it is an opportunity to look at everything that has been knocking around for quite some time. This is the time to address that.
"I don't think there has ever been a bigger opportunity since the game went professional for us to come around the table in an active, open and transparent manner."

Sweeney also acknowledged the RFU regulation which dictates players based outside England are ineligible for the national team would be looked at as part of wider discussions with allowances already made for Worcester players as well as those at Wasps, assuming the club enter administration on Monday. "I've heard of a number of players saying they have intentions or would look at going abroad after the World Cup so we'll have to address that."

 

Kiwiwomble

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That's.... a risk
Wouldn't it just alienate both sets of fans?
Unless they call it the the Irish Wasps so the fans can keep their identity
i see the post from Irish saying its just speculation so probably moot, but, yeah, need to stuff like that, and every year alternate jerseys would need to be basically a wasps or irish jersey for fans

Its something we really stuffed up in super rugby, tried to make the super franchises their own thing when really we should have done more to connect to the unions, i always thought the highlanders alternate jersey should always be maroon for southland, canes should alternate between a manawatu one and a hawkes bay one etc

even out logo's, Otago's is an O and Soutlands is an S, both would have worked together is a single logo

45355 a
 

Jimbo

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Currently Bath - but that may yet change by the end of the season. Also possible that another club goes down financially - though I don't think any others have suffered the malign influence of Worcester, or the over-optimistic financing of Wasps.

Isn't that a little bit "Well if I'm not going to win, then I'm not going to play!"?
I'm sure the Italians, Scots and (most of) the Welsh will be crying into their cereal about English clubs feeling second best in Europe because they just can't spend the same as the French and Irish.

Bath won't be winning the Premiership this year - should we just withdraw in a sulk?
Not really to me there is a big difference between having a realistic chance of winning or at-least being competitive I just can’t see with the reduced salary cap that being a thing, because the Welsh and Scotts accept it doesn’t mean everyone should, Bath have a level playing field in theory salary cap wise to everyone else In the premiership so not sure how that can be used for comparison purposes.

It seems a little pointless having salary caps domestically then competing in European tournaments with no such cap assuming said caps are there to level the field and stop clubs spending beyond their means.
 

Which Tyler

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It seems a little pointless having salary caps domestically then competing in European tournaments with no such cap assuming said caps are there to level the field and stop clubs spending beyond their means.
Seems pretty obvious to me.

Better to exist but lose rugby matches, than to not exist.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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RFU pushing for central contracts sounds so dumb considering the logistics and the fact it can’t afford it
 

TRF_Olyy

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How much would central contracts cost?
They're paying out £460,000 - £575,000 per game in match fees at the moment (not sure when the COVID reduction in match fees expires - usually it's £25k, COVID was £17.5k)

5 x Six Nations,
4 x Summer series,
4 x Autumn series

£5,980,000 - £7,475,000 in fees per season

How many central contracts would they need/how many do the WRU/IRFU have?
 

stus768

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How much would central contracts cost?
They're paying out £460,000 - £575,000 per game in match fees at the moment (not sure when the COVID reduction in match fees expires - usually it's £25k, COVID was £17.5k)

5 x Six Nations,
4 x Summer series,
4 x Autumn series

£5,980,000 - £7,475,000 in fees per season

How many central contracts would they need/how many do the WRU/IRFU have?
Would this replace the PGA payments?
 

TRF_Olyy

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Would this replace the PGA payments?
IRFU don't pay match fees, so I think so
Depending on how many CCs they give out there could be the cash spare to give (smaller) match fees to non-CC players
 

Which Tyler

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Jim Hamilton making friends...

Yes Jim, yes we are still upset.

Not only does other clubs being extremely unfortunate justify cheating by yours; it's also crass to pretend it does.

Further to that, Nigel Wray has blood on his hands over the demise of Wasps and Wuss, though A] being a prime driver of the excessive salary cap increases, B] being a primary driver of the marquee player exceptions, and C] being THE primary driver of wage inflation - by cheating, repeatedly cheating, by spending well above the cap, so that other clubs struggles to compete whilst spending the full cap, and faced disaster if they didn't - all whilst top players demanded more and more in salaries - because of your cheating.
 
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DragonCraig45

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No matter what happens now I think the division will be too small. But I would rather have it that way because I just don't think any other club will be ready. Something needs doing to improve the 2nd tier.
 

Wasps92

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Personally think central contracts would be a good thing for England assuming the RFU can afford it. Look after the players better and keep them fresher for international duty.

The downside would probably be similar to what has happened to the County Championship in cricket in terms of its effect on the Premiership: the quality suffers because the best players are no longer playing in it on a consistent basis.
 

Reiser99

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Also do we want to end up never even making it to another semi-final?
 

Old Hooker

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Jim Hamilton making friends...

Yes Jim, yes we are still upset.

Not only does other clubs being extremely unfortunate justify cheating by yours; it's also crass to pretend it does.

Further to that, Nigel Wray has blood on his hands over the demise of Wasps and Wuss, though A] being a prime driver of the excessive salary cap increases, B] being a primary driver of the marquee player exceptions, and C] being THE primary driver of wage inflation - by cheating, repeatedly cheating, by spending well above the cap, so that other clubs struggles to compete whilst spending the full cap, and faced disaster if they didn't - all whilst top players demanded more and more in salaries - because of your cheating.
Hard to disagree with a lot of that, but a couple of points.

Sarries bounced straight back from relegation to come within a whisker of winning the ***le last year and are flying this season. Money helps, but that’s everything to do with culture and togetherness, which was also a huge factor in Chiefs rise. Too many clubs have overlooked this in my book with cheque book fuelled short termism and revolving doors of players etc.

While applauding the intentions I’ve always felt that the one size fits all salary cap is flawed and it’s scarcely turned Warriors or Falcons into serial ***le contenders for example. I’d much prefer it to be based on a proportion of, say, average of last 3 years revenue to ensure affordability. Yes, that brings some inequality but then clubs also know what they have to do to get a higher budget which is demonstrate sustainable growth - surely sensible. Why should Tigers with multiples of Falcons fan base not be rewarded for that?

I think we also have to be careful not to conflate a couple of issues. The Premiership model may well be broken but in the specific cases we’ve seen recently the Worcs owners have been widely berated for serious mismanagement while Wasps long ago put everything on red with the move to Coventry and it came up black. Would more competent, less risky management have seen those clubs in business today? Quite possibly. The Pandemic had a huge impact, but was also a freak set of circumstances that is highly unlikely to recur - yes, you need contingencies for a rainy day but that was a once in a century occurrence.

I’d also look at relaxing the rule requiring Eng players to be based in England. Not totally, but maybe after 50 caps or for 2 years in total. Would allow a small number to bank some bigger bucks in France while also broadening their experience which can only be to the good in their development as players when they return.

It feels like material change is coming whether it’s 10+10 leagues, central contracts or whatever. That’s fine, but those making the decisions need to be very clear on what has gone wrong and not knee jerk. Current issues feel as much a failure of governance as structure. Everyone, including players, also have to accept that while we want the game to grow it’s also highly unlikely to ever be anything more than a minority sport. Let’s make it a well run one.
 

Which Tyler

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Hard to disagree with a lot of that, but a couple of points.

Sarries bounced straight back from relegation to come within a whisker of winning the ***le last year and are flying this season. Money helps, but that’s everything to do with culture and togetherness, which was also a huge factor in Chiefs rise. Too many clubs have overlooked this in my book with cheque book fuelled short termism and revolving doors of players etc.
Agreed, though I will point out, that Saracens initially brought in their culture by flashing the cheque book around (and doing so effectively, which makes a change). But I absolutely agree that culture is key to their success - the overpaying just helped - massively. It built the culture, and now they're maintaining it with a correct budget

I’d also look at relaxing the rule requiring Eng players to be based in England. Not totally, but maybe after 50 caps or for 2 years in total. Would allow a small number to bank some bigger bucks in France while also broadening their experience which can only be to the good in their development as players when they return.
Now on that, I absolutely agree - though it should be noted that it's a sop to PRL to help them keep their best English players; whilst the RFU still benefits from control, rest periods etc - but still, I do like Giteau's Law
 

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