After it was reported in The Rugby Paper that a chairman of an English Premiership side has said that there will be a British League in two years’ time, many fans flooded Twitter to give their opinion on this concept.
After CVC Capital Partners became shareholders in the Premiership over the past year, they are now expected to invest in the PRO14 as well. With a say in both leagues, they may try and forge a new league, which could potentially be an Anglo-Welsh League, a British League with Scotland or a British and Irish League.
These are only early days in discussing what may happen, but Welsh fans on Twitter are already jumping on board this new concept. Attendance at stadiums among the Welsh regions has dwindled in recent years, as have TV viewing numbers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has struggled to fund the regions in a way that would make them consistently threatening, particularly in the Champions Cup. As a result interest in that level of the game has fallen off.
FRONT: New British League ‘coming to rugby in two years’
Sunday’s TRP ?? pic.twitter.com/ywITPVAFRP
— TheRugbyPaper (@TheRugbyPaper) July 20, 2019
The prospect of playing against English teams is a great boon to the Welsh fans, as it would rekindle one of the great rivalries in rugby.
Not only is the prospect of playing against the likes of Bath, Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester far more accessible for the regions’ supporters than journeys to the likes of Glasgow, Ulster and South Africa, there will be more passion in those games.
This would be a game-changer all thanks to CVC https://t.co/FmRlPAfqoq
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 22, 2019
Many fans feel that this will regenerate a fervour among fans that has been missing for years. As a result, more people will watch the matches both on TV and at the grounds. Sponsorship would also likely increase, allowing the teams to consistently improve.
It’s a potential cycle that appears to have Welsh fans very excited. This is what they have said:
As a Scarlets supporter hearing the talk of a British League is amazing. The thought of looking at the fixtures & seeing for eg. Ospreys home, Bath away, Glasgow home & Bristol away would be nuts. Speaking from the regions point of view the pros must massively outweigh the cons?
— Ricky Harries (@RickyHarries) July 22, 2019
If it is a British/Irish league, I’m up for it, the logistics would suck, but anything is better than the godawful Pro14.
— alun price (@alunprice667) July 21, 2019
really hope it happens the pro 14 is dead on its feet
— Wyn (@Wyn18028668) July 22, 2019
I think that it's short sighted to dismiss the idea out of hand especially when 99% of teams are struggling financially & the Pro14 is loaded in favour of the Irish teams.. If CVC put the money into the game & infrastructure & get rugby on a normal tv channel then let's do it!!
— Andy Lee (@metalpirate77) July 22, 2019
Anyway a British league would probably mean more sell out games for the Welsh regions which would mean more income and bigger budgets. No brainer for me.
— Guto Shôn Edwards (@GutoShon) July 21, 2019
Finally!! We should have done this as soon as we went professional. I think the welsh public would have bought more into the cross border games even if the regions were the welsh representatives. Imagine the money a league like this would attract?
— David Allan (@davidallan999) July 21, 2019
The constant referring to the good old days is just what people remember. Packed grounds watching Anglo-Welsh games, can't fault people for harking back.
We know that joining with the English won't be the complete answer, but it may well be our only chance to survive.
— Cardiff Rugby Life (@CardiffRugbyWeb) July 22, 2019
Anglo Welsh,simply has to be the way forward.needs to happen.
— martin (@martp68) July 21, 2019
Would love this to happen. Should have happened 20 years ago. If you could conceive the SA sides to join it would be the best league by a huge stretch
— Timothy Reynolds (@Timothy47365109) July 22, 2019
The trouble with this possible league is that the English clubs may not be as committed to it as the Welsh clubs will be. Premiership teams are set to benefit far less from joining another league than their rivals across the Severn, and the question will remain as to whether they would be willing to give up what they have.
Furthermore, the Irish and the Scottish teams in the PRO14, as well as the Italian and South African sides, may have different feelings about the shake-up of the leagues, particularly if a solely Anglo-Welsh one were to be created.
As this prospect is fleshed out over the coming months, pros and cons will inevitably appear, but for now it looks like the Welsh fans are fully supportive of the mooted change.
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