Whatever the current status, activity of the licencing committee, or the state of play in the restructure proposals the nettle needs to be firmly and decisively grasped on the acceptance of Toulouse into Super League. Fortunately it appears that decision is not too far away. Both Canetman, who really is on the ground and knows personally many of the key players in French RL and Oiseau who also has an "on the ground" sense of what Toulouse means in terms of it's position as a potential major player in French sport, are both absolutely spot on. If Toulouse are not given the green light soon a major opportunity for the sport will be lost. Concerns about how many actual RL fans there are currently on the ground in the city is an irrelevance. Equally the presence of strong RU and football clubs in the city is equally not a hindrance to the prospects for a Super League club, but positively an indicator that this affluent, young, vital city will support any high profile successful operation, as will the local wealthy Mairie and other public and commercial organisations, which proliferate in the area.
And as both CM and Oiseau have reminded us the potential catchment area is enormous, attracting many new fans in the city and hinterland but also committed treizistes from much further afield as far as the Pyrenees, and the treiziste areas of the Aude. whislt the strong developing area of the Tarn is even closer.
A professional French SL is such a non-starter. I hope now that the RFL/SL will finally grasp the benefits for all this can bring. A Toulouse presence in Super League will greatly enhance the profile of RL in France, benefitting not only the Elite, the Catalan Dragons and the French national team, but grassroots RL all over this vast country. That media interest at a national level is not there, despite the progress that has been made with such as L'Equipe. It is that enhanced profile that will bring more into the sport, whether more young players, an alternative pro pathway to the Dragons, but also business interest.
I felt that Toulouse were let down by the previous Chair of the Federation, who meekly seemed to have accepted the ludicrous offer of a place in the Championship. Toulouse had little choice to accept but it was a "poisoned chalice". Because of his background the new Chair of the Federation has pushed the case for a second SL club in France very hard. But despite the odd jibe to the contrary it will be the whole of French RL that will benefit from a second French club, i.e. Toulouse. The Elite is currently in a pickle, certainly with next season looking worrying. But a Toulouse presence in SL will also be a boost to those clubs waiting in the wings to enter the Elite in 2014-15, namely Lyon, Bordeaux and a Tarn club. Finally if the decision makers and marketing people at the RFL and SLE can't make something of the marketing opportunity of a more credible SL Europe, thanks to a Toulouse presence then I give up. But please listen to CM and Oiseau on this issue.
Edited by Cliff Spracklen, 11 June 2013 - 01:32 PM.