Boudjellal to the Figaro: “The League is the supreme Soviet” – Top 14

the president of RC Toulon gave a long interview to the Figaro. In this first part, he evokes his complicated relationship with the League – he pinned severely – and offers ideas for the Top 14 to finally develop a viable economic model.

interview by Arnaud Coudry and David Reyrat

LE FIGARO. After launching the policy of Foreign stars, you announced wanting, in the medium term, a French team 100%. What is a new provocation?
Mourad BOUDJELLAL. is a fantasy! It’s doable, we started to imagine it on paper. Through the players that we have today and young people who are going to happen. After that, the problem is to know if we have the means to recruit. As the french player has become a work of elite force which costs much more expensive since we are forced to have a number. Take the effects on the face and many clubs suffer. But in the preparatory course of economy, everyone knows. But not the people in the League…

The president of the FFR, Bernard Laporte, wish there is more…
He inherited a catastrophic situation. “Bernie the crazy”, he wants an immediate shock to break a situation. If he had this situation to manage since the beginning, I’m sure he would have done more intelligently. There, he is forced to hit hard.

The training centre has become the lifeblood of a club?
Today, the training centre is not suitable for the economy of rugby. It is a cost and not an asset. The people of rugby do not understand that. I tried to explain to them. Some presidents have understood this. But not the Steering Committee of the League, which is the Supreme Soviet. It lacks only the uniform. It’s beyond them completely. When Mohed Altrad, who still was elected world entrepreneur of the year, talk, we don’t listen to him. Whereas it should charge her advice…

Some leaders of the League are at the table of decision makers while they have no legitimacy!

Why do you have both management of the NRL?
Because they are not of the world of the company, but of the associative world. Already, they have a problem with money. And more, to them, create an economic model, it would recognize that rugby became professional. That is a rugby where they have more legitimacy. So they cling to the current situation. Some, to the Steering Committee, no longer same club presidents after the have been with more or less success. But they exist today in rugby because they have a badge, they can go to the matches, they have expense reports to go to the restaurant and the hotel. Mount every week in Paris, it’s free… And when there are meetings with presidents, they are at the table of decision makers while they have no legitimacy! They won’t tell me what I’m doing and they never managed to do!

Economically, what would you first change if you were president of the League?
I’ll make sure knowledge can compete with the money. Knowledge must be able to monetize. Today, money is King in rugby: you better have money than to knowledge. But even those who have money will eventually get tired of pay. They will want to buy the jurisdiction. When knowledge and training will become a driving force, you play your players because you will need to show them to sell. Training centres, this isn’t an issue today.

In concrete terms, how this happen?
A player trained by a club owes him two years of contract. This contract is cash value but the club who bought it will have the same economic conditions as if he had trained the player. It will reimburse the training and everyone will win. With money cashed on this sale, the club will be able to compete with the richest clubs. After a while, one making that pay will have to sell… So, I want to create a market of training depends on the economy of rugby. Second thing, the players are trained at the club should not be included in the salary cap. If tomorrow a president wants to have 20 M€ ( the salary cap is set at 10 M€, Editor’s note ) by payroll, it may but only trained players for the France team. Everyone will soon be 10 m € of payroll with new TV rights. Where will the difference be? In training if it is not within the salary cap…

To live well in the Top 14, it is better to be medium

other ideas?
40 per cent of the Top 14 TV rights are donated to the Pro D2. The principle is questionable, but I’m not going to discuss it. Just why those 40% are used to finance 16 foreign players per team of Pro D2? We keep this 40% but you do create a meritocracy for french players. The club that has foreign players will have zero. One who has a lot of french players, more than 40%. This 60-40 is one of the causes of the problems of french rugby. This has created a huge imbalance. The salary between a player of Top 14 and Pro D2 is more important. If wages were lower in Pro D2, the goal of the french players would be to try to go in the Top 14 to win more. This species of fairness between the Top 14 and Pro D2 is dumbing down. It is the ‘average’ ideal of a lot. To live well in the Top 14, just be average: you touch the same rights TV that is good, but you play at 6.30 pm on Saturday, so you sell more tickets and make full of hospitality. You get off in Pro D2? You earn €500,000. If you are champions of France, you take half: €280.000! The year where we do the double in 2014, I would have done a better record going down in Pro D2… When you are elected to the League, we don’t think to be popular and be re-elected. That’s why to make pleasure to the maximum. So means pull them out of the game.

That does not worry the League clubs fail to find viable economic model?
No, it looks good. Paul Goze even said he knew, but that’s not very important. As long as it takes, it takes as long as presidents are investing in their club… But it will not be forever, look at Thomas Savare to the French stage. There’s a business model that will create excitement. When Canal + has bought the rights to the Top 14 for 75 M€, they said that they had bought, no not the Top 14 TV rights, but those of Toulon. Our business model has created these hearings that everyone has shot upward. Everyone benefited since it is communism: everyone dreamed the same part Marx, rugby did. There where Toulon moves the stadium is full. That’s the economic model that we created. How many clubs have increased their payroll thanks to Toulon? But these people did not create an economic model. They are just enjoying growing TV rights.

The Top 14 is the Championship who has the most money in the world but we don’t use it to kill other

but football, the share of the TV in the resources rights is even more important…
Yes but it’s less disturbing. When told, you play on Sunday night at 9 p.m., is not serious. They are paid for it. Neither do we. It is often broadcast on Sunday evening at 9 pm because we’re having the best audiences. But, suddenly, we’re selling less tickets, we do more hospitality, and we pay double people…

Why nobody does share your ideas in the League?
Why I was beaten to the Steering Committee of the NRL? Paul Goze and Emmanuel Eschalier ( his right arm ) do not want people who think. They say: if it thinks about it, we won’t lead, they bring ideas. They want people who will say yes to what they offer. The reports are like that: you vote Yes and then I owe you. Yet, it has the wealth to absorb training-based model. The Top 14 is the Championship who has the most money in the world but we don’t use it to kill others. I do not understand that we do not dominate the world. We just use it for guilt. I was told at a meeting of the League: “ you’re going too fast for them! “but it will happen. Or then it dies…

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