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The Future of the Heineken Cup In Doubt?

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    Just seen this in The Guardian
    Welsh rugby plunges deeper into crisis after resignation of senior official
    http://gu.com/p/3ya63
    Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. (Marcus Aurelius, 121-189 AD)

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      Originally posted by Loop View Post
      What's your reading of this Owain?

      TBH I have no expectation that RRW will actually break away ... but then again.
      These pages seem to move really quickly at the moment, not sure if you saw #7526? I think he was caught in a conflict of interest scenario. The mood is very militant within the RRW camp, so where it will lead is difficult to predict. They have until the end of this month to sort it, so there's going to be a lot happening over the next few weeks.It really is such a mess, with the potential to affect everyone. I do believe the RRW are trying to move away and join the Aviva, but without WRU consent it is very messy. And I just cannot see the WRU backing down.
      Cé go bhfuil an namhaid trampled underfoot mo thír, fhios ag an teanga d'aois na Breataine Bige aon Retreat. Evan James 1856

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        In other news, Canal + weren't joking when they said they were going to take steps over the T14 broadcast messing. They've sent the lawyer's letter to LNR.

        http://www.lequipe.fr/Rugby/Actualit...-la-lnr/425880
        Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

        Comment


          How's it going lads? Sorry if there's a proper introduction thread that I'm missing or if it's against protocol to make a first post without posting in it, but just to introduce myself I'm a Leinster fan who's been following this issue and this thread fairly closely for a while. I don't normally post on forums, but I thought I could maybe offer a bit of clarity on some of the murkier details here, since I know exact facts and figures aren't exactly easy to find.

          Originally posted by mikerob View Post
          However from a sports rights perspective, England isn't a country. That's one of the reasons why the PRL deal for European rugby sticks in the craw because it is a UK deal with the English clubs claiming all the money.
          This was the one that's always baffled me to. The PRL say the BT deal is binding for English clubs, but all the other unions will be free to negotiate their own deals to add to the pot, yet considering BT are committed to being the sole broadcaster in their territory, surely that means Wales, Scotland and Ireland don't really have much of a choice in the matter. Even if BT did offer extra money for the other countries, it's not going to be much of a negotiation when BT are the only bidder.

          Originally posted by exiled to connacht View Post
          According to RRW statement the European element of the BT deal is 64 m and AFAIK that's a 4 yr deal. That's 16m pa.
          Also according to RRW LNR s new deal puts 15m in the pot. I know there is a currency difference so call it 33m euro.
          Where does the other 39m come from? Were they adding in the value of the erc/ sky deal to massage figures?
          As I understand it, the BT deal is £88m for four years for the Premiership, and £64m for three years for Europe. That's assuming the RRW's figures are correct, but we all know how good these guys are with figures. That means the BT deal is worth ~£21m for the European pot per year. So if you add the Italian and French pots to that, it would be worth more than the current ERC deal, assuming all is correct.

          Originally posted by exiled to connacht View Post
          Jos and tiger you say that Irish teams still have it easier than a viva and top 14 teams under new qualification criteria. Jos even tries to prove it with percentages .
          AFAIK the new agreement guarantees each union 1 place. This includes top 14 and a viva although its a moot point.
          In the pro 12 there are 7 spots for 4 nations. If you remove the guaranteed spots , which IMO is a necessary evil, that leaves 3 spots between 8 teams of 37.5%. That compares unfavourably to top 14 s 5/13 or 38.45% and avivas 5/11 or 45.45%
          Maths isn't my strong point, but I think assuming the Pro 12 has 7 places in the new competition with 1 spot ring-fenced for each association, the odds of an Irish or Welsh club making it is the probability of getting the automatic spot (1/4, or 25%) plus the probability of grabbing a spot on merit (3/8, or 37.5%), or 62.5%. I could be wrong though, statistics aren't something I'm great on.

          Originally posted by Tiger View Post
          Okay. Irish rugby has several structural advantages under the current set-up.
          Let's look at the TV breakdown. Irish rugby gets a much greater amount than it puts in from the 6N, Rabo and HEC broadcasting revenue. This was mentioned on previous pages, relating to the Welsh dissatisfaction with the distribution of the Pro 12 cash. This is essentially a subsidy from the other sides.
          I think everybody will make up their own mind on the merits of distributing cash (those from larger countries feel they're subsidising the rest) but I can put the Pro 12 argument to rest. The Welsh get the lion's share of Pro 12 TV money, as they should because they have the best deal.

          This article in Welsh Online breaks the situation down a bit. It seems to be from RRW sources as it gives more or less the same figures as they do in their statement, which personally I feel are probably massaged a bit. There's no way in my mind the Welsh contribute £5m of a £5.4m pot, but I suppose it's possible given the generosity of BBC Wales and the competition in the UK market as opposed to our relative monopoly (RTE and TG4 are independent but basically two sides of the same coin).

          The article confirms that RRW take the lion's share of the pot, which is limited to Wales, Scotland and Ireland since the Italians negotiate their own deal and keep the proceeds. They estimate it to be 70%, though I don't know what it's based on, but it may be right assuming the other figures are correct. My reading of IRFU sources and the WRU annual report suggests the figures are more or less right - Wales take in £3.5-4m from the Rabo pool, and the IRFU gets under a million.

          Originally posted by Tiger View Post
          The Irish provinces also benefit from the tax exemption on sportsmen, which makes retaining players a lot easier as this lessens the financial benefits of playing abroad. Hence why only Sexton of the current squad is abroad.
          First things first, it's not a tax exemption. Rugby players pay exactly the same taxes as anybody who earns an equivalent salary. For the money elite rugby players earn (€150-300k for the most part), they pay quite substantial taxes compared to players in France, for instance, who are entitled to exempt a portion of their salary (I think about 40%) as "image rights." Where the tax relief in Ireland kicks in is after retirement, when a rugby player is entitled to claim back 40% of his paid tax over a ten-year period, to a maximum of €450,000, following his retirement.

          Most players won't reach this threshold, but nevertheless it is handy when you're trying to plan the rest of your life. In Sexton's case, the added salary of a year spent in France would more or less cover that, as it would if Conor Murray had chosen to take up an offer in France. At this point, the premium paid by French clubs and even some English clubs means the tax relief isn't all that anymore.

          The people who really benefit from it are soccer players and low-level rugby players, who won't earn much more than the average wage and for whom a lump sum on retirement is a huge help when you're facing a life where you have to find a new career to feed yourself and family. In general, though, the tax argument is bunk as every country has its own tax regime which is no concern of other countries. We don't lecture the French for their tax breaks.

          Originally posted by Tiger View Post
          Finally, there's no salary cap in Ireland, which enables solid strength in depth to be developed and retained. On their own, each is not that earth-shattering. Put them together and there's clear competitive advantages over rival sides. Some of these are happy co-incidences, such as the tax break (I think it was originally aimed at horse racing?) and others are due to Irish rugby taking full advantage of its position or being clever negotiators (clearly the TV deals have been cleverly negotiated). As I said, it's impressive how Irish rugby has got its act together and created the conditions for such recent success, but there are reasons that this was possible. I also realise that some of these affect / benefit other countries' regions / clubs as well.
          As other people have explained, there is an effective salary cap in Ireland - you can't spend any more than you have, which seems to be an alien concept to a lot of rugby clubs. The Irish provinces operate under restrictions that English rugby clubs do not. As they're owned by the union, the provinces can't get a bank loan or an overdraft without IRFU approval, meaning they need to fund their budget from their current account. If you make a loss one year, you have to make it back from the next year's budget.


          Originally posted by Tiger View Post
          The salary cap inhibits the top English sides, the ones who are likely to be challenging for the HEC. They're the ones who generally can afford to spend more on their squads if they wanted to. That's the advantage. It doesn't really matter, for this discussion about perceived advantages in Europe, whether Newcastle, Exeter or Worcester can afford to pay more on their squads, it's not really relevant. It does mean though that Leinster can afford to have more depth than Saracens or Northampton.
          The salary cap is voluntary - PRL and the RFU agreed to put it in place in order to preserve the structural integrity of Premiership Rugby, as the product as a whole would be worth an awful lot less is Worcestor, Wasps and London Irish all went into liquidation. Likewise, the provinces have strict financial rules in place which require us to spend no more than what we take in, in order to preserve the structural integrity of Irish rugby - it's how small businesses tend to operate in the real world.

          Comment


            Welcome whimpersnap, great first post!
            Marty in the Morning

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              Can we keep him, Mods? Please? Can we? Pleeeeeeaaaaaassseeeee?:D
              Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

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                Like every other poster, if you play by the rules, you get to stay as long as you want.

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                  Originally posted by Tiger View Post
                  PRL want to control the competitions they play in, or at least not be frustrated at every turn as they have been in the ERC structure. As they do with the AP, so with Europe. ...
                  They don't want to eliminate the competition. They do want to not have constraints on how they go about their business, and they see the ERC as doing just that.
                  Tiger - maybe the crux of the problem here. Do you really think the PRL should have the right to control a European competition (ie one involving teams outside of the PRL) to the same extent as a domestic one?? One that involves other parties ??
                  Wouldn't it be more appropriate to think there was a right to influence rather than control?

                  Also, its a bit odd that you are so concerned about salary caps in Ireland, yet not about what's happening in France. Surely teams like Toulon pose bigger problems on this front, yet the PRL seemed quite happy to try to arrange a new tournament with the LNR. Is it potentially OK to play a much richer French club, but bad against an irish province (not that the irish do have larger wage bills). Ive heard Cockerill many times complain about the unfairness of playing wealthier French clubs (yet its perfectly fair to play poorer clubs like Newcastle in the Aviva ...)

                  Comment


                    Whimpersnap,great first post .

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                      Thanks for the welcome!

                      I'd make a couple of amendments to my original post.

                      Thinking more about it, 62.5% chance of making Europe has to be wrong. Entering it into this calculator, it says the probability (all teams being of equal strength, which obviously isn't true), the chances of an Irish side making the HEC is about 43%, which is less than the Premiership (50%) and the Top 14 (43%). Meritocracy and all that.

                      Also, the figures seem to suggest that the Irish TV market puts about £800k into the Rabo TV pool, so I can only assume everybody gets more or less what they put in.

                      Comment


                        Incidentally, in other news? My butty was on a flight from Cardiff to Belfast on Sunday. Also on said flight was that fellow Edwards. Who apparently discussed rugby related matters with another chap the whole way over.

                        I wonder what it could have meant?

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Tiger View Post
                          With the greatest respect, that's not a salary cap, it's an annual budget. The two are different things.
                          Money isn't everything, we Irish have what every English or Welsh club wishes they had, player loyalty, the players respect the jersey and want to continue wearing it for as long as possible. Playing for some random french dickhead who owns a car or tyre factory just isnt the same
                          My computer thinks I'm gay
                          What's the difference anyway
                          When all the people do all day
                          Is stare into a phone

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by sewa View Post
                            Money isn't everything, we Irish have what every English or Welsh club wishes they had, player loyalty, the players respect the jersey and want to continue wearing it for as long as possible. Playing for some random french dickhead who owns a car or tyre factory just isnt the same
                            i would have thought clermont are one of the french clubs that have done very well to get their imports to buy into the ethos of the club and to recognise that they are representing a region. much as we have done with our own imports.

                            Comment


                              Stand by for some RRW posturing, kicks off at 10.00am.

                              @simonrug: Off to a joint press conference called by the four Welsh regions at the Celtic Manor this morning.


                              @robindavey01: RRW will this morning reveal the vast discrepancy in the funding they receive compared with their rivals
                              Last edited by Owain; 18th-December-2013, 09:54.
                              Cé go bhfuil an namhaid trampled underfoot mo thír, fhios ag an teanga d'aois na Breataine Bige aon Retreat. Evan James 1856

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by hellovating View Post
                                i would have thought clermont are one of the french clubs that have done very well to get their imports to buy into the ethos of the club and to recognise that they are representing a region. much as we have done with our own imports.
                                They'd have three HC's in the locker if they had a pair of balls between them
                                My computer thinks I'm gay
                                What's the difference anyway
                                When all the people do all day
                                Is stare into a phone

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