Amongst the furore following the Rugby Football Union’s decision to slash their funding of the Championship in England, many players have spoken out on how detrimental this could be for the game and the development of players.
A large number of players currently plying their trade in the Gallagher Premiership and also the England squad have benefited from their time in the Championship, which is why this decision by the RFU has not been welcomed. However, not as many have had experience of playing in both England’s second tier and France’s, Pro D2.
Former Bath prop Kane Palma-Newport, who is currently playing for US Colomiers in France’s second division, has weighed in on the topic on Twitter, having had a taste of both leagues.
The 29-year-old, who had a spell with the Championship’s Yorkshire Carnegie, said that clubs in France are not solely funded by the federation or from within, rather the “town/ town hall are all involved”.
Palma-Newport has said that the clubs in England need to use “the grounds and the clubs as social hubs”, in the same way they do in France in order to make them more sustainable.
Ben perhaps you could mention how here the town/ town hall are involved. It’s not just money from the federation and the club. Seems like the best way of moving the champ forward. Using the grounds and the clubs as social hubs. Like here in France.
— Kane Palma-Newport (@kanokano123) February 13, 2020
Players and members of the Championship clubs have fiercely objected to this plan by the RFU, fearing it will not only end any hopes of clubs rising to the Premiership, but could seriously stultify players’ progression.
France may therefore have the model in which many of these clubs can follow by making the ground part of the community. This would not only generate support and interest in the team, but will make the clubs a viable businesses.
The biggest concern is that the gulf between the Premiership and the Championship may grow even vaster as a consequence of the RFU’s plans, which could lead to ring-fencing the top league ultimately. However, France leads the way in how these teams can still survive.
WATCH: Clubs fear RFU’s savage second-tier funding cut ‘will affect many people’s livelihoods’.
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