Antipathy of Championship clubs comes as no surprise to Toulouse Olympique

Toulouse Olympique are “not surprised” at negative comments from some Championship clubs, who are voicing concerns about the French club’s return to the competition.

The Olympians’ relegation from Super League after just one season at the top has been greeted less than enthusiastically by some second-tier sides, according to media reports last week.

But Toulouse Chief Executive Cedric Garcia told League Express he fully understood some of the comments, adding: “I can understand certain clubs being concerned that a club like ours is coming back into their competition. 

“It might make it more difficult for those clubs to get promoted themselves, so it’s only natural that they are unhappy.

“We’ll do our best to have good relationships with all the clubs and welcome them our way; we’ll try to change the opinions of those who are most unhappy and hope they have a fantastic experience here.

“Of course you always hear the one who complains; maybe we should listen to the majority who seem to be happy about French teams in the competition.

“You can’t ignore the negative voices but you can focus on the positive ones if you want to move forward and help the whole game progress.

“There’s some talk sometimes about not wanting French clubs in Super League, but the massive message we got from clubs who have visited here is one of friendship and encouragement.”

Garcia said he was working with league chiefs to formalise plans to pay for all travel costs for Championship competitors under Toulouse’s unique arrangement with the RFL.

He added: “The financial arrangements will be pretty much the same, we will have to pay for our transport and all the away teams and match officials’ travel to and from Toulouse.

“We will work with other clubs to see what the best options are and we are already talking to the RFL on this.

“As for the future, it’s a long way off, especially with IMG about to tell us a little bit about what is going to happen, so we’re not quite sure what the situation will be in 2024.

“We can’t look too far ahead, but we know what we did badly this year and where we can improve and we will take that on board and come back stronger.

“We’re disappointed to be relegated, but we have learned a lot and we’ll roll up our sleeves and go again.”

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