Toulouse Olympique head coach Sylvain Houles says the club should have been given three years in Super League after their relegation was all but confirmed.
A 52-6 defeat at Wigan Warriors on Friday night means Toulouse would have to win all three of their remaining matches, and either Warrington Wolves or Wakefield Trinity lose them all, to have a chance of survival.
Houles acknowledged his side were now “realistically” down, having recorded just five wins from 24 matches in their first ever Super League season.
And he expressed his frustration that the club were not given exemption from relegation – as Catalans Dragons had on their arrival in 2006 – to grow the game in France.
“Mathematically it’s still possible, but realistically we know that it’s going to be the end of our road in Super League for this season,” said Houles after the Wigan defeat.
“It’s a tough deal to come up from Championship at the last moment, and for us even more, not knowing how Super League works, what you need. It’s a very tricky situation.
“With us and our project and France having the World Cup in 2025, and our long-term vision, we should have been given three years to make sure that we build the French game and the vision of getting a TV deal. It’s a real shame.”
Toulouse and Catalans will hope to demonstrate the potential of the sport south of the Channel when they meet in Super League’s second French derby on Thursday at Stade Ernest Wallon.
Olympique then finish their campaign with away trips to Hull FC and St Helens.