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Why PRL are so desperate to ring fence

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gerg_861 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Mar 2021 at 12:05
I was reading the Rugby Paper today, and a stat that I was unaware of jumped out at me: the next 4 years of payments under the Professional Game Agreement to the PRL cartel is based on the RFU's revenue this year. According to Nick Cain, the payments to the PRL are meant to halve for the next four years, from £28m/annum to £14m/annum. Still nearly 3x what the Championship was getting before the latest cuts, but when you factor in a few other numbers, the PRL's financial cliff edge is even more stark:

* PRL sold 27% of its revenue to CVC for a lump sum that most clubs wasted on imported players.
* The BT renegotiations were bumbled, leading to a DECREASE in annual revenue of over £250k/annum per club. (£40m/annum to £36.67m/annum)

With those three factors, each PRL member could expect to see their non-Gate non-Merchandise revenue drop from £5.23m/annum in 2019 to £2.84m in 2022. Without savages cuts to the Championship budget, the gap between leagues would have become almost manageable, and some of the clubs who have been mismanaged could be caught.

Even with those cuts, the gap will be much smaller for the next 3 years at least - it is absolutely no coincidence that that is the time frame that the PRL and RFU are mooting for a hold on promotion relegation. The cads.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2021 at 13:30
I am sure CVC will ride to the rescue with alternative revenue streams
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote islander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 07:14
Latest coverage on this...


NB it's the Daily Mail - so it appears (to me) highly speculative, listing a chain of events that is being talked about by some, and could happen, but might well not, raising some major and as-yet unanswered questions along the way...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 373 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 08:43
Because the effects of COVID will be long lasting, there’s no point encouraging clubs to pump millions in to avoid relegation if it isn’t a sustainable model. 

It will also, hopefully, continue the practice of clubs looking to bring in their own ‘homegrown’ players rather than bringing in players on short term contracts on high £££. It could even result in the Championship taking 4 years to get its own house in order. 

The whole framing of relegation being a huge draw negates the fact that in most years there is no relegation scrap at all, it’s been 5 years since the club relegated was even within 10 points of the next placed side, going back 10 years to when it was even more than a two horse race!

If it’s a case of things getting ‘worse’ before they get better, then it’s a positive. 

I fear most of the ranting is standard anti-RFU bile without consideration of the wider picture. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trailfinder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:15
I am very anti this proposal but I suspect it is what will happen. In my view it just encourages mediocrity in the Prem and discourages investment in the Champ. If anyone really thinks this would be just for a few years then they are a fool. 

There needs to be root and branch reform of the professional setup in England but unfortunately turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. 


Edited by Trailfinder - 13 Apr 2021 at 09:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marigold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:17
Well said 373. Who knows it might even allow for more English coaches to be given the chance to develop  so that we actually have some kind of succession planning other than bringing in former international 7s coaches or Australian rugby league coaches to prepare our national 15-a-side team.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gerg_861 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:24
Originally posted by 373 373 wrote:

Because the effects of COVID will be long lasting, there’s no point encouraging clubs to pump millions in to avoid relegation if it isn’t a sustainable model. 

It will also, hopefully, continue the practice of clubs looking to bring in their own ‘homegrown’ players rather than bringing in players on short term contracts on high £££. It could even result in the Championship taking 4 years to get its own house in order. 

The whole framing of relegation being a huge draw negates the fact that in most years there is no relegation scrap at all, it’s been 5 years since the club relegated was even within 10 points of the next placed side, going back 10 years to when it was even more than a two horse race!

If it’s a case of things getting ‘worse’ before they get better, then it’s a positive. 

I fear most of the ranting is standard anti-RFU bile without consideration of the wider picture. 

I disagree with the above quite strongly. No club is forced to pump millions in to avoid relegation - developing your squad through your academy will avoid that in the long term. If clubs mismanage their player development and need to bring in outside players, that's their choice within the salary cap. 

I'm unsure what you mean by the Championship 'getting its house in order'? If you are talking of sustainability, then In what universe does being cut adrift from the pyramid structure, denied funding, and denied exposure do anything to enable the Championship to grow and become sustainable?

In regard to relegation being a draw, I will only point to the tense battle between Newcastle and Leicester 2 seasons ago and contrast that to the garbage teams/games that have been plopped out by Gloucester and Worcester recently. They 'blooded' a lot of youngsters in these games, but only in the sense that you blood a sacrificial lamb, creating dead rubbers that no one should ever have to pay for.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trailfinder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:28
Originally posted by marigold marigold wrote:

Well said 373. Who knows it might even allow for more English coaches to be given the chance to develop  so that we actually have some kind of succession planning other than bringing in former international 7s coaches or Australian rugby league coaches to prepare our national 15-a-side team.

Unfortunately I think you have sampled the cool aid, there are plenty of English coaches in the Premiership if this is your measure of success. There is a concerted PR exercise by the Prem to convince everyone that ring fencing will solve everything. When all it does is save them money. 


Edited by Trailfinder - 13 Apr 2021 at 09:29
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Rob C View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:44
Originally posted by Trailfinder Trailfinder wrote:

I am very anti this proposal but I suspect it is what will happen. In my view it just encourages mediocrity in the Prem and discourages investment in the Champ. If anyone really thinks this would be just for a few years then they are a fool. 

There needs to be root and branch reform of the professional setup in England but unfortunately turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. 

Recent results in the Champions Cup would suggest that mediocrity in the Premiership is already a reality with the French clubs, in particular, setting new standards in terms of skills and intensity. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trailfinder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:54
Or is it because the Prem is ringfenced this season?!?

Personally I think it is more do do with the differing budgets/salary cap levels between the leagues. But then Exeter were able to do it last season...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marigold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 09:55
Rob C did you not watch the 2 all French quarters on Sunday-pretty poor in terms of both skills and intensity. 78 points scored -one try.Old school English rugby!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote French Connection Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 10:28
I've always been completely for the concept of promotion and relegation. However to say that ring fencing encourages mediocrity and meaningless games isn't borne out if we look at it in action. Super Rugby down under is ring fenced, and it is by far and away the best and most entertaining rugby in the world at the moment. This season's games have been fantastic. And the NFL manages very well without relegation. I can see the arguments on both sides and I'm not as certain as I was on the issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 10:31
Originally posted by marigold marigold wrote:

Rob C did you not watch the 2 all French quarters on Sunday-pretty poor in terms of both skills and intensity. 78 points scored -one try.Old school English rugby!

Probably not a great comparison but I used to think how average some of the American heavyweight boxers looked when fighting each other in the early eighties and how Frank Bruno would beat them easily - then he fought Tim Witherspoon...

Likewise - how good do Bristol, Sale and Exeter look at Premiership level?

Sometimes two evenly matched heavyweights makes for a dull spectacle.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trailfinder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 10:33
I don’t think Super Rugby is all it’s cracked up to be, yes the top third is a high and entertaining standard (particularly the NZ franchises) but the bottom two thirds make for meaningless games and the stadiums are largely empty. I think even in NZ they are seeing participation falling. 

Plus you cannot compare rugby with NFL, different sports, different countries, different commercial markets. Ringfencing already exists in rugby and the Pro 14 is how it looks. 


Edited by Trailfinder - 13 Apr 2021 at 10:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gerg_861 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 10:59
As an American who loves the NFL, I can say that the system has some huge flaws. There are certain teams (e.g. the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets) who are mismanaged and under invested in for literally decades at a time. In addition, by week 10, there are constant dead rubbers, which are only mitigated by having 32 teams, which allows you to swap the dead rubbers to timeslots where they don't matter. The threat of relegation would do a lot to stop both of those headaches. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gerg_861 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 11:04
Originally posted by Trailfinder Trailfinder wrote:

I don’t think Super Rugby is all it’s cracked up to be, yes the top third is a high and entertaining standard (particularly the NZ franchises) but the bottom two thirds make for meaningless games and the stadiums are largely empty. I think even in NZ they are seeing participation falling. 

Plus you cannot compare rugby with NFL, different sports, different countries, different commercial markets. Ringfencing already exists in rugby and the Pro 14 is how it looks. 

Also, do you really want a situation where the 'owners' can decide on what teams are in or out, regardless of merit? You could ask the Southern Kings, the Cheetahs, the Western Force, and the Sun Wolves how that goes. From 'ring fencing paused' to a full on franchise system is a very small step.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WEvans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 14:43
Originally posted by marigold marigold wrote:

Rob C did you not watch the 2 all French quarters on Sunday-pretty poor in terms of both skills and intensity. 78 points scored -one try.Old school English rugby!

I only saw the second game which was played in very bad weather. La Rochelle played with a great deal of skill and intensity in dismantling the Sale South Africans the day before however.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 17:28
Originally posted by marigold marigold wrote:

Rob C did you not watch the 2 all French quarters on Sunday-pretty poor in terms of both skills and intensity. 78 points scored -one try.Old school English rugby!


Indeed, the first one in particular was extremely dire!

However, when you look at the budgets of the French sides in comparison to Premiership teams it is hardly surprising they have massive squads a lot of which are full of Southern Hemisphere internationals. (When you look at Premiership squads - there seems to be a trend to importing Sth African bulk - Sale in particular)

I would like to see a strict limit of 5 non-national players in each 23 man squad. If nothing is done it will soon be very difficult to get a competitive England side (if it isn't already)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fenboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 17:52
Until the Championship consists solely of clubs able and willing to take their place in the Premiership should they win the league then automatic promotion and relegation to the Premiership is not a credible option.
IMHO, of course.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cherub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2021 at 19:39
Promotion and relegation is the most essential ingredient of league rugby. But I do agree that the jump from the Championship to the Premiership is a special circumstance. Surely the answer is a simple one. If the club that wins the Championship has the facilities to support Premiership rugby then they get promoted. If they don't, nobody goes up and nobody comes down. Surely this is better than ring-fencing.

My team Ampthill deserve to be in the Championship by working their way up through the divisions. But using a silly fairy tale example, if they won the Championship next season they would not be promoted because of their current facilities. But what it has done is get a club like Ampthill looking at creating a whole new complex just up the road which would boost the local economy and become a major sporting hub in Central Bedfordshire.

Lack of funding is an issue. The number of teams in each division is an issue. But don't mess with promotion and relegation.
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