Toulouse Olympique’s brief stint in Super League may have ended in disappointment and relegation but it could have a major positive impact for the future of the game.
The ‘holy grail’ of a TV deal for French Rugby League has become closer thanks to the Olympians’ promotion to the top-flight, according to their Chief Executive Cedric Garcia.
He told League Express: “We all know that the future success of the French game relies upon a TV deal; we couldn’t arrange one in the short period of time since we were promoted but the work has never stopped.
“The big difference now is that the talks are being backed by three main stakeholders, Catalans, the French Federation and ourselves. That is real progress.
“We’re working together and that’s the difference. Catalans have made incredible strides for the game here but they have had to do it alone for so long.
“We wouldn’t be where we are now without the Dragons but we are so glad we can now work with them to achieve the right deal for the game in France.”
Garcia said the links being forged with the French Government by FFRXIII President Luc Lacoste could be the catalyst for future financial security for the sport.
He added: “Luc is doing a really good job and he has been boosted by the announcement of a Rugby League World Cup here.
“He is leading the way for us and we have regular exchanges with him; he is also in talks with IMG over the future strategy of the game.
“The World Cup will be supported by the French government, which is a massive breakthrough for us. There will be a huge financial benefit but also the exposure for our game is priceless and I am fully confident that we can change the dimension of Rugby League thanks to this event.
“It’s thanks to the hard work put in by Catalans, the Federation and ourselves that we had the Prime Minister of France announcing the 2025 RL World Cup here.
“Professional sport today is reliant on major international events and the benefits that they bring cannot be overstated.
“2025 is a huge opportunity and we need to be ready to embrace it, as I said, to change the whole dimension of the entire sport.
“It gives you credibility, and that is vital for us.
“We have the rugby union World Cup here in 2023, the Olympic Games in 2024 and the Rugby League World Cup in 2025, so we should surf the wave and push for our sport.
“There are some very, very interesting times ahead. Unfortunately our relegation has been a setback, but we’re fighters.
“If you’re a Rugby League supporter in France, you have to be a fighter – and we won’t give up.”
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