We had to run after the president of the National Rugby League (NRL) Paul Goze, because the latter has remained fairly discreet since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. He spoke a little in the print media, but for the radio, he chose Europe 1. And in particular to evoke the stopping of the competitions since March.
Rugby is particularly affected: the Top 14 stopped on the 17th day, but ovalism is very dependent on ticketing and sponsorship. In the event of a closed session or a very limited audience, Paul Goze claims aid from the State. "It is imperative that the State helps professional rugby, otherwise it would be threatened with disappearance, or at least several clubs would risk filing for bankruptcy if there is not very strong aid", warns the boss of rugby French professional.
Goze claims exemption from charges and support fund
And Paul Goze is sounding the alarm because "65% of the club economy is based on ticketing and hospitality on match days". This is why he claims on Europe 1 "an exemption from charges until December 31, 2021", adding: "If the closed session were to extend beyond December 31, 2020, it would be necessary, in addition to this exemption of charges, create a state rugby support fund. If we have six months behind closed doors, to compensate for the products that we are losing, we must indeed go until December 2021. 18 months of charges correspond to 6 months rugby without product. "
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An estimated loss of "150 million euros" for rugby pro
He calculates the loss for professional rugby, if the matches are disputed without an audience until the end of the year, "around" 150 million euros "." I hope that won't happen, but we wanted to educate the State because we, TV rights, represent only 20% of our income. Our main income is on match days, it is a particular economy. "Another proposal, lower wages:" If we take in Top 14 average wages, they are around 20,000 euros. It would take a drop in wages of 20 to 30% to allow clubs with similar reductions to be able to bear these reductions in income. The club's payroll represents 60% of its expenses. "
Because the finances of French clubs are not at best: "When the accounts were closed on June 30, 2020, they would be blood orange, to take a median expression between orange and red. The accounts would be altered, but still acceptable taking into account state aid with partial unemployment and state guaranteed loans. The balance sheets are therefore orange tinged with red. " The LNR also borrowed 15 million euros to support professional teams.
The 2020-2021 season, major fear
The concern remains very important for the next season. "For two reasons: the clubs will be impacted according to the occupancy rate of the stadium, and even if we take over with the public, the ticket office would be impacted by up to 20%. Our partners also within our clubs, which are SMEs , Local VSEs, very involved in our clubs, are also very impacted. They will surely have lower communication budgets and this will have repercussions on our clubs. "
As a reminder, the NRL has stopped the championship, without however deciding on the modalities, whether it is a white season or the designation of a champion, of relegated and promoted clubs. For the time being, the white season seems to be holding the line, without going up or down.