RFL Gambles Toulouse …

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201003010259_w350-100x100.jpgThe RFL delivered a swift and none to diplomatic “don’t call us we’ll call you” message to the ambitious Toulouse Olympique club Monday.

In a statement the sports governing body said:

“The RFL has confirmed that Toulouse Olympique do need to appear in the 2010 Co-operative Championship Grand Final to earn the right to apply for a Super League licence from the 2012 season onwards.

“Contrary to some reports, the mechanism by which Toulouse can apply for a Super League licence remains unchanged from the position in 2008, when the last round of licensing was completed.

“Should they reach the Grand Final, Toulouse Olympique will also have to address factors that are not relevant to UK-based Championship clubs, including how a second French club can add to Super League.”

Now that’s a fair enough statement; right down to that last sentence, which I have a big problem with, because it raises some serious issues with the RFL’s own ambitions.toulouse6lo-300x200.jpg

You see I wonder if the RFL will be asking Leigh Centurions what a second Wigan-based club ( 11.6 mls to Wigan Warriors 12.7 mls to Saints and 8.3mls to Warrington Wolves via the A579) could add to Super League? Or asking Widnes Vikings what they thought another club in Cheshire (8.2mls via A562 to Warrington Wolves) would add to Super League?

I somehow doubt they’ll be asking? Yet those are the very questions they ought to be posing.

For the record it’s 131 miles from Toulouse to Perpignan; in other words, slightly further than the trip from Hull to St. Helens.

Given the additional hoop they are now dangling in front of the Olympique, it’s hard to conclude anything other than that the RFL is getting cold feet on any expansion.

Small wonder that the better managed rugby union game has overtaken rugby league so rapidly; small minds have bred an insular and introverted sport.