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Summer Rugby in Europe; NH + SH seasons aligned; World Club Championship?

Discussion in 'Rugby Discussion' started by kiap, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. kiap Geoff Shaw (53)

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    With soccer in Australia a summer sport, why not Rugby in England? Plenty of reasons for it. It would not unduly surprise to see this happen in the next 2-3 years (linky).

    Why Premiership clubs are joining with the French in move towards summer rugby

    By Paul Ackford, Telegraph: 11:00PM GMT 10 Dec 2011

    The natives are getting restless. Again. Senior representatives of the top French and English clubs are exploring the possibility of a move to summer rugby as an alternative to losing their best players during World Cups and Six Nations tournaments.

    The discussions, tabled at a recent meeting following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, come on the back of a renewed interest in establishing a world club championship.


    As of now, the big European clubs – and the talks have included Leinster, Munster, Toulouse, Toulon, Racing Metro and Cardiff – are content to push at the boundaries from within the current set up.

    But it cannot be long, especially given the near-anarchic state of the Rugby Football Union in terms of governance, before the major rugby institutions of Europe decide to act.


    Mark McCafferty, Premier Rugby’s chief executive, confirmed the frustrations felt by many of England’s bigger clubs. “We do get anxious at the pace of change on a variety of fronts,” McCafferty said.

    “We want to see the Heineken Cup become bigger and better and sometimes we feel the pace of change is too slow. We’d like to expand it with a world club championship, but as a complementary element, not as a replacement.”

    McCafferty and Quentin Smith, Premier Rugby’s chairman, held a series of meetings in New Zealand during the World Cup to gather support for the initiative and to explore formats.

    The difficulty is in finding a suitable slot to accommodate the conflicting demands of the season in both hemispheres. “There is an appetite for such a clash,” McCafferty said. “There’s no doubt about that. It’s just a question of juggling the calendar to make it work.

    "We see it as a gap in rugby’s sporting portfolio if you like. You’ve got European rugby, Super rugby [in the southern hemisphere] and international rugby, but there is no matchup between the best club and provincial teams in the world.”


    The summer-rugby scenario is one such example. Dismayed at having to play through the World Cup with many of their star players missing, several of the bigger French and English clubs resolved never to do so again, and are contemplating switching to a domestic season which runs through the spring and summer months, beginning in March and ending in November.

    The initiative has two major benefits. It roughly aligns the two hemispheres, creating a global season during which international fixtures would be contested between countries at similar states of readiness, rather than the ludicrous situation which now exists where teams, ravaged by injuries and fatigue at the end of one season take on sides who have barely broken sweat at the start of theirs.

    It would also create the space for competitions such as a world club championship to take place.

    It opens up the possibility of the better weather, a different type of rugby and the ability to expand the crowds,” McCafferty said.

    “But we need everybody to participate in the debate because you’ve got the June internationals and Lions tours which occur in that period. So it’s not a solution we can implement by ourselves.

    "These things do take several years in their gestation, but there will come a point when an opportunity presents itself and you’ve got to be ready for that. We’ve had these discussions, but they are internal at the moment and have not got as far as the Professional Game Board yet.”

    McCafferty is reluctant to suggest a specific time frame for any radical changes, but there is a growing sense that the expansionist plans of restless owners and investors will not be contained for ever, and that the current arrangement whereby all clubs are treated roughly equally is under considerable strain.

    Domestic club rugby in July? Not in the immediate future perhaps, but don’t bet against it.
  2. machiavelli Frank Nicholson (4)

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    Pro Rugby will insist on w/widfe competition with a suitable timetable.

    Problem is that the IRB can see and feel the Clubs threatening their powers reserved and administration incompetence.

    They promised a w/wide study of w/wide integrated timetable in 2007 .

    still waiting .

    meanwhile the unions flood the fixtures with revenue generating Internationals which squeeze the fixtures further .

    The Media Barons will also insist on a more w/wide Pro Rugby beneath the International level ..
  3. Bardon Peter Fenwicke (45)

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    That's the vicious circle that could happen when the game is more and more driven by revenue. More games due to these extra competition will mean needing bigger squads to cover the amount of games. Then the higher wage bill will mean clubs will want more revenue. Some teams will get into a position that they struggle to generate enough revenue to cover their player costs.

    Then the hammer blow will come, the very big clubs will want more revenue and the only way to get that will be to play each other more often. Some kind of break away elite competition will come about. Smaller and even some big teams will be squeezed out. The revenue of these clubs will plummet as they're not in the big competition that TV will pay big bucks to screen and they wont have the huge paydays a big HEC game can generate. But they'll still have their huge wage bills and some very famous names may go to the wall similar to what's happening in soccer in Europe at the moment.

    I hope it doesn't come to that, but all I hear when the people in charge (Unions or clubs) talk about when it comes to growing the game is revenue streams. It doesn't bode well IMHO.
    Swat likes this.
  4. WorkingClassRugger Geoff Shaw (53)

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    That may be, however, there is still more than plenty of room in both the AP and Top 14 teams to grow their respective products domestically. Could also open the pathway for the likes of ProD2 and the Championship to build a presence. In time it could work out for the likes of the Russian Professional Rugby League with their top teams finally gaining entrance in the ERC structures if they choose to follow suit. A new potential market. A Global schedule while could have many glass half empty scenarios there are certainly many half full ones as well.
  5. PaarlBok Rod McCall (65)

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    This will be ideal, global season.
  6. en_force_er Geoff Shaw (53)

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    A potential issue is the complete detachment between the professional and amateur season time tables. This is bound to have unforeseen side effects.
  7. darkhorse Darby Loudon (17)

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    Does it have to? Some of the weather they play rugby in is miserable. I imagine playing rugby in the summer maybe more attractive to some youngsters.
  8. p.Tah John Thornett (49)

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    Kids in England for example will have to choose between cricket and rugby.

    It simple to say change seasons but the ramifications could be huge. If people prefer rugby in the winter and its only played in summer. you'll see a few more Rugby League clubs pop up.
  9. machiavelli Frank Nicholson (4)

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    For a world wide competitive environment to happen a sensibly tiered europe has to be achieved (there's significant, understandable stregth differential : Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France , England and the # licenced players says it all).
    I believe that this is underway, certainly by the'elite' clubs but it'll take time for the political reasons to disipate ..

    From a S Hemp point of view there will have to be sensible 'peer' tiers to ensure competitive aspects.

    Meanwhile. Unions are dragging their feeet as Blazer power wanes and the big clubs are unhappy and restless .. a dangerous formula.remember the Packer cricket fiasco ?
  10. p.Tah John Thornett (49)

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  11. Bardon Peter Fenwicke (45)

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    The International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) have weighed in on this one:


    The main changes they want to see:

    - NH club season starts 1 month later and finishes 1 month later. So Oct-Jun rather than Sept-May.
    - June Test window becomes July test window.
    - No more 1 month break in the Super Rugby season.
    - Lions tour would happen after SR season finishes.
    - They'd like all this to start from 2016 onwards.
  12. JSRF10 Dick Tooth (41)

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    I'd think this would be a step in the right direction, but I'd prefer that the Heineken Cup and first half of domestic leagues are played in tandem with the Super 15, then July Tests, then 6 nations and RC run in tandem with domestic leagues/competitions resuming. A break for the finals of the domestic leagues then the November tests.

    In the NH there would be better conditions which would lead to better crowds, more exciting games etc which ultimately translates into more money for the game. I'd say the 6 nations would be a hell of a lot better to watch as well! I think it could also add more flexibility for touring teams to add mid week games against provinces/franchises.
  13. KevinO Peter Johnson (47)

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    Another article from the Irish Independent.

    I have to say I like the fact i can watch rugby all year round. But I do see where the players and governing bodies are coming from trying to look out for the Welfare of the game.

    Would be a good thing if Fox sports got all the rights and did a Fox rugby channel, enough content if all the leagues are going at once to make a channel.
    boyo likes this.
  14. PaarlBok Rod McCall (65)

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    Global rugby season will be awesome.

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