How many current Elite clubs have a realistic chance of running a sustainable and competitive SL club though if they had some funding?
Carcassonne, Limoux and Lezignan are within 30mins of each other and are pretty small individually but share an area of 300,000 people. Maybe a chance for them if they pool their resources together like was rumoured previously.
Toulouse is a no-brainier. Huge area. Big history.
Avignon is a fair sized area, and they've shown they can back big games.
Villeneuve is another small town but sits in a fair sized department on their own from other RL towns in France.
Lescure D'Albigeois again is a other small town, but Tarn is a big place and not too close to Toulouse. There's Albi on their doorstep as well.
Pia are on the doorstep of Catalans, in a village with only 7,000 residents. Then there's also UTC who are the Catalans' feeder club.
So 5 possible clubs there in Toulouse, Aude (Carcassonne, Limoux, Lezignan), Tarn (Lescures), Avignon and Villeneuve from the Elite 1. In Elite 2, they're all pretty much in these areas other than Lyon, so maybe 6 clubs from traditional areas. Not really enough to create a league so you'd always have to look to new areas.
Got a pretty good grasp on things there.
For the moment they wont touch the Aude I think because its in the Dragons catchment area.
Toulouse would be looking to the Tarn and Albi for its support. Albi pulled 10,000 for the Wales European Cup match a couple of seasons back. Also would attract people further west towards Villeneuve and may be as far as Bordeaux. I saw a match against GB in Agen in 2002 with 10,000 present. So there's potential there.
Avignon is the best bet after Toulouse. Vaucluse has what 400,000 population. There is no top class union or soccer in that department and of course the local Parc der Sports will host the NZ world cup game in November after attracting 16,000 against England two years back. Sporting Olympique Avignon have only been back in the top division for 3 years and have reached the final of the Lord Derby Coupe which they havent won since 1989. They also have decent Juniors providing half of the national team which played England Schools last year.
Zalduendo the French President is keen I think to get St Gaudens back in after folding two years back after being Champions of Elite 1 only eight years ago. If that happens then some joined up thinking in the Tarn could work with an entente between Lescure, Albi and Realmont forming a UTT - union treize tarnais like what happened in Perpignan with Catalans.
The other good piece of news is that there appears some thing at long last coming out of Roanne - once one of the best clubs in France. They nearly disappeared but now doing well back in National 1 - 3rd tier and qualified for the this years play offs.
The two best sides outside Elite 1 are probably Baho and Palau two villages at the side of Perpignan who are presently holding down first two places on the Elite 2 ladder. Palau have two young lads there playing well below what they capable of - half back Marginet was playing in Super League two seasons back but as a club have no structure whereas Baho do. But the Federation dont want either I think. They want a bigger foot print and would love to see the likes of Roanne and Lyon back up there.
If they ever got Toulouse and Avignon playing Super League alongside Catalans that would have some chance of making a break through over here. It could create six French derbys and that could make the media sit up.
Edited by audois, 25 March 2013 - 09:12 PM.