Championship of France of Rugby to XV
This article treats championship disputed by the elite of the French clubs, other championships of lower level are disputed in France, it is the case in particular Championnat of France of Rugby Pro D2 whose two best teams are promoted each season in the Signal 14. The other championships are described in the article: Competitions of French clubs of Rugby to XV.
The Championnat of France of Rugby was created in 1892 under the aegis of the general sports federation USFSA. A committee of Rugby is then in charge of the test. It is dealt with starting from the edition 1921 by the any young person French federation of Rugby. Since 1998, it is the National league of Rugby which organizes it.
The winner of the championship of France gains a trophy which is called the Bouclier of Brennus.
Its formula evolved/moved much during the history (see below Organization of the championship). With the introduction of professionalism in 1995, the number of clubs of the division of elite fell notably, passing from 24 to 16 then finally with 14 clubs in 2005. It carries since the name of Top 14 . It is held in two phases: a phase known as of qualification, which is disputed by all the teams and a final stage gathering the four best clubs of the phase of qualification, which is played by direct elimination.
During its long story, the championship of France was marked on several occasions by cycles of domination of certain clubs during 10 to 15 years. In the chronological order, one records hegemony of the two Parisian clubs of the Racing Club of France and of the French Stade (1892-1903), then those of the Stade Of Bordeaux (years 1900), of FC Doors (years 1950), of the ACE Béziers (years 1970-80) and of the Stade Toulousain (years 1920, then 1985-2001). Since 2000, the French Stage and the Olympic Biarritz divided 7 of the 8 concerned titles.
the stringcourse at the foot of the page gives bonds towards the specific articles which treat various seasons of the championship of France since its origin in 1892.
Birth of Rugby in FranceThe Rugby was introduced in France towards 1870 by Britanniques working into the Hexagon. As of 1872, some of them found the Havre Athletic Club with which they practice a hybrid form of Rugby and Football that they call combination .
The first true club of French Rugby is the English Taylors RFC , rested by English business men with Paris in 1877, followed by the Paris Football Club the following year. This last has one transitory lifespan. Its scission involves the formation of the Racing club of France in 1882, of the French Stade in 1883 (or 1887) and of Olympic in 1888, entirely or partly by French.
The first championship of France of Rugby to XV is decreed in 1892, following a simple match between Racing and the French Stage, gained by Racingmen (4-3). The three Parisian clubs (Racing, Stage, Olympic) gain in turn the championship of France until in 1898. The championship is then disputed only by clubs of Paris or Paris region and the number of participating clubs is to the maximum of six (in 1898).
The clubs of province are authorized to dispute the title in 1899. SBUC benefits from it at once to gain its first title. Starting from 1904, the supremacy of the teams of the Southern half of France becomes crushing. Rugby enracine deeply in a Lyon rectangle it Small rock-Biarritz-Toulon: the valley of the Rhone, Languedoc, Roussillon, the Basque Country, the valley of the Garonne, the Pyrenees succumb to the charm of the oval balloon. Naturally, of large clubs appear. The period 1892-1914 is dominated by three clubs which gain the main part of the championships: the SBUC (7 titles), the French Stage (6 titles) and Racing (4 titles).
In 1901, the SBUC gains the final with regular on the score of 3-0. But USFSA cancels the result and decides that the final must be rejouée in Paris, the Stage of Bordeaux having indeed made play three players irregularly. The SBUC refusing this decision, the French Stage is declared victorious.
The finales of 1906 and 1907 are arbitrated by Allan Henry Muhr which is then international player, former champion of France in 1901 and 1903 and future owner of the selectors of the XV of France of 1911 with 1919 (it will be also selector of the team of France of Coupe Davis in 1922 and 1923).
Henri Amand is one of the large players of the time with five gained titles, then the referee of the finale of 1913, Marc Giacardy made in the same way with six titles and a final arbitrated in 1912. With them, one can quote Louis Dedet, Marcel Laffitte, Auguste Giroux, Maurice Bruneau, P.C Rio Branco da Silva Paranhos and Henri Martin which gained all six times the championship of France.
Because of the First World War, the championship is stopped between 1914 and 1919. For this period the championship is replaced by the Coupe of the Hope which is disputed especially with young people not called to carry out their military service. The competition was disputed four times but does not form part of the official prize list of the championship.
Prize list 1892-1914
The table hereafter gives the prize list of the championship of France since its creation in 1892 until its interruption in 1914. One reaches the article which deals with one particular season while clicking on the score of the finale.
Between two wars 1920-1939The Stade Toulousain knows its first period of domination of French Rugby by gaining five championships of France in six years, of 1922 to 1927. It is then the reign of the “Red Virgin”, as one calls the red and black club following his title of 1912 during which the team remained unconquered during all the season.
Years 1930 are dominated by the the USA Perpignan which gains three times the championship, by the Olympic Biarritz (four disputed finales and two championships) and the Lyon OR (three disputed finales and two championships).
Out of the ground, the Twenties and Thirties are years of crisis for the championship. The championship of France pokes covetousnesses and involves drifts: violence on the grounds and charges of maroon amateurism rythment seasons more and more often. In December 1930, some clubs denounce the disguised professionalism practiced by certain teams (an owner could pay its players in its company such as for example that of the US Quillan, three times finalist between 1928 and 1930, and champion in 1929, in a town of three thousand inhabitants) and make secession. Ten clubs found UFRA (French Union of Rugby amateur), which was prided to remain faithful to the ideals of fair play and amateurism of Rugby, and asked the French federation to give of the order in its house. Seven of them are former champions of France, but they are excluded from the championship. On the whole, 14 clubs will make secession, including seven former champions of France.
Following these tensions, the XV of France are boycotted by the British teams which see these drifts of a very evil eye, at the point to be excluded from the Five Nations tournament. FR finds finally an agreement in 1932 with the clubs entered in dissidence, but the consequences of the crisis are deep: its manpower very strongly decrease and the number of clubs passes from 784 in 1930 to 663 in 1934 and 558 in 1939, of many clubs stop purely and simply Rugby, whereas others join the Rugby with XIII, professional, launched in 1934 to France.
The XV of France are authorized by the British to again dispute the Tournament only in 1940, but this edition will never take place because of the Second world war
Prize list 1920-1939
the table hereafter gives the prize list of the championship of France since 1920 until its interruption in 1939. One reaches the article which deals with one particular season while clicking on the score of the finale.
The Second world war stops the championship of 1940 with 1942. After three seasons of nonofficial competitions, the FR decides, on June 5th, 1942, to restore the championship of France. The championship is disputed by forty clubs of the occupied zone and fifty-five clubs of the free Zone. After the invasion of the free zone by the Germans in November 1942, the Federation changed names into “northern zone” and “southern zone”. The final is disputed between Bayonne and Agen, which gained the competitions of the southern and northern zones respectively.
The number of participating clubs increases regularly, passing from 95 in 1942-43 to 154 in 1945-46. After the war, the number of clubs of the elite is tiny room to 64 clubs for the season 1946-47 and varies thereafter between 40 and 80 until the season 1991-92.
The championship 1944-45 is gained by the KNOWN Agen which beats FC Doors finally. Among the players of KNOWN Agen, to note the presence of Albert Ferrasse and Guy Basquet which will be later president and vice-president of the French federation of Rugby.
However, the post-war period is dominated by the FC Doors which gains 7 times the Bouclier of Brennus of 1948 to 1960 (more another title in 1968). Several Lourdians of this gilded generation cumulate thus at least six championships of France: Antoine Labazuy, Jean Prat, Thomas Mantérola, Maurice Prat, Louis Guinle and Roger Martine. The team counts eight international players in activity in 1948 and still seven in 1958.
The finale of the championship 1948-49 twice has the effect of being disputed, the first match being finished on an equality 3-3, finally it is the Olympic Castres which gains the title at the expense of the Mons Stade.
The two finalists are again with equality at the end of the prescribed time at the time of the finale of the championship 1950-51, but the payment envisages whereas a prolongation is disputed and it is US Carmaux which gains the title by beating the Stadoceste tarbais by 14-12.
In 1952, France is again threatened to be excluded from the Tournament, culprit according to the British of professionalism (recruitments, premiums of match, profit-sharings). To avoid the sanction, the French federation promises to abolish the championship of France and provides a list of players considered to be guilty of professionalism, of which Jean Dauger, Robert Soro and Maurice Siman. The exclusion of the Tournament is thus avoided and in the final analysis the championship of France 1952-53 is maintained following the pressure exerted by the great majority of the French clubs.
The FR decides to reduce the competition while making dispute only the matches to go from the championship, it removes also the Coupe de France. For the only time in the history of the championship, the not qualified clubs (after the phase of qualification with hens of eight) dispute a test of consolation called the Coupe Cyril-Rutherford in the honor of a former captain of the XV of France to the beginning of the year 1900.
The final of 1957-58 sees the opposition of the two Manterola brothers who play in opposite teams: FC Doors and the Sporting Club mazamétain. The two teams are led by two strong personalities, the Lourdian Jean Prat, “Mr Rugby” and “Doctor” Mias on the side mazamétain. Jean Prat gains his sixth and last championship of France, while Lucien Mias, in spite of glorious success with the team of France, will be never champion of France.
Without reaching Lourdian hegemony, the KNOWN Agen gains all the same three titles between 1962 and 1966.
After having failed by three times finally, the Mons Stade gains for the first (and only) time of its history in 1963. This victory is acquired at the expense of the US Dax. It is the first time since 1934 qu' a final opposes two teams of the same department (the Landes). It is also the third of the five finales lost (for any victory) by Dax.
The events of May 1968 delay three weeks the behavior of the finale of the championship 1967-68. FC Doors and RC Toulon are with equality after prolongation, but the final cannot be rejouée because of the late date of the meeting, the team of France having to leave in round in New Zealand a few days later. Consequently, it is Lourdes which is declared victorious for the benefit of its two marked tests.
Voulte becomes more the small town of France, since Quillan in 1929, to see passing the shield of Brennus in its streets in 1970.
In 1969, Pierre Villepreux loses his second finale of the championship of France, this time with the Stade Toulousain which is beaten by Bègles. With Lucien Mias, it belongs to the large French international players, like Pierre Albaladejo, Walter Spanghero, OJ Maso and Serge Blanco, which never gained the championship of France.
Prize list 1943-1970
the table hereafter gives the prize list of the championship of France since 1943 up to 1970. One reaches the article which deals with one particular season while clicking on the score of the finale.
Years 1970-1984 see a clear domination of the championship by the ACE Béziers which, thanks to a generation of players exceptional and a trainer advances some over his time, Raoul Barrière, gains 10 championships. The domination of the ACE Béziers is such as in 1972 seven Biterrois belong to the team of France which faces the Ireland with Colombes: the fronts Armand Vaquerin, Alain Estève, Olivier Saisset, Jean-Louis Martin and Yvan Buonomo, the half of fray Richard Star and the winger Jack Cantoni. In 1977, the ACE Béziers counts twelve international players in activity. This year, the Biterrois Alain Paco and Michel Palmié gain the shield of Brennus, after having made a success of the Grand Slam with the team of France.
The Stade Toulousain puts an end to supremacy Biterrois by gaining the shield of Brennus in 1985 for the first time since 1947, and becomes again the club headlight of French Rugby with four gained titles of 1985 with 1994 included (it gains of them five others then of 1995 to 2001). Several players cumulate six or seven championships of France, of which Hugues Miorin, Jerome Cazalbou, Claude Portolan, Franck Belot and Christian Califano.
The increasing internationalization of Rugby in the years 1980 affects the course of the championship, in particular creation in 1987 of the World cup of Rugby to XV, which is held every four years. The clubs which have international players in activity must indeed place them at the disposal of the team of France during the course of the competition, that is to say during more than one month. The programming of the matches is arranged, but the clubs which have the greatest number of international players are penalized all the same compared to the other clubs (unavailabilities due to tiredness, wounds etc).
Since 1995: the advent of professionalism
The championship 1995-96 sees the passage to professionalism. Rugby then becomes a trade for approximately 600 players who sign a professional contract with their clubs, and sees the beginning of the reduction of the number of clubs evolving/moving in the elite.
The good level of the championship of France, thus tightened, is shown by the first victories of the Stade Toulousain and the CA Brive in Coupe of Europe, respectively in 1996 and 1997 (Brive is also finalist in 1998). The creation of the Cut of Europe increases however the number of matches which the clubs must dispute. The championship of France begins thus as of August and ends in the final which takes place in general at the beginning of June.
The reduction of the clubs of the elite started in 1994 leads to a single hen of sixteen clubs in 2003 (Signal 16), then with a single hen of 14 clubs in 2005. The championship takes the denomination of Signal 14. To encourage the spectacle, a system of points of no-claims bonus is set up: 1 point of defensive no-claims bonus registered for a defeat of 7 points of variation or less and 1 point of offensive no-claims bonus for 4 marked tests. In 2007, the offensive no-claims bonus is modified and granted to any team which registers 3 tests moreover than her adversary.
Years 1995-2007 see a clear domination of the championship by three clubs which gain the 12 championships decreed after the passage to professionalism. The end of the year 1990 sees the return to the foreground of the French Stage which, under the impulse of its president max Guazzini, gains the shield of Brennus in 1998. Four other titles will follow until in 2007. The Parisian club shares this supremacy with the Olympic Biarritz, winner twice of the championship in 1935 and 1939, but which gains of them three in 2002, 2005 and 2006. The only title which escapes to them cost with the Stade Toulousain which remains in the foreground while being champion in 2001 and by gaining the Cut from Europe in 2003 and 2005 (victories obtained at the time of finales 100% Frenchwomen against USAP and the French Stade).
The programming of the matches of the championship 2006-07 is arranged in order to hold account owing to the fact that the international players are very solicited with, in addition to the Signal 14, the matches of the Tournoi of the six nations 2007, those of the Coupe of Europe and the preparation of the world cup 2007. The championship is stopped during nearly two months, between on January 27th and on March 23rd, 2007. The final is gained by the French Stage with the costs of the ASM Clermont Auvergne which fails for the eighth time finally (no victory).
Prize list 1971-2007
Thirteen clubs gained at least three times the championship, the Stade Toulousain is definitely at the head assessment with 16 titles including five gained of 1922 to 1927 included and four others gained of 1994 to 1997 included.
The French Stade is second of the assessment with 13 titles including 8 asset before 1910 and 5 since 1998. It is the only club has to be crowned Champion of France with XIXe, with XXe then in XXIe century.
The ACE Béziers with 11 titles follows including 10 asset in fourteen years (1971 to 1984 included).
FC Doors also dominated the championship of France during one decade with six titles acquired of 1952 to 1960.
No club was champion five times of continuation. The record being 4 consecutive seasons by the Stage of Bordeaux of 1904 to 1907 and the Stade Toulousain of 1994 to 1997.
Clubs having been vice-champions but never champions and current division:
- Inter-Nos: 1894
- SCUF (Division of honor): 1911
- US Carcassonne (Federal 2): 1925
- FC Lézignan: 1929
- US Cognac (Federal 2): 1954
- SC Mazamet (Federal 1): 1958
- Nice UR (Federal 1): 1983
- CS Bourgoin-Jallieu (SIGNAL 14): 1997
- US Colomiers (Federal 1): 2000
Since the season 1995 - 1996 which marks the beginning of professionalism, twenty-seven clubs disputed at least three seasons in the elite. However, only three clubs conquered the Shield of Brennus at the time of these twelve seasons: the French Stage with five recoveries, the Stade Toulousain four times and the Olympic Biarritz three times.
For this same period, the Stade Toulousain succeeded in the exploit to reach each year the stage of the semi-finals (14 consecutive since 1993-94, series in progress and record of France).
PlayersThe following table gives the list of the players who generally gained the championship of France, and as an indication the titles of vice-champion. The first four places are taken by players of the ACE Béziers and the nine first only belong to three clubs: the ACE Béziers, the Stade Toulousain and the FC Doors.
Many players gained the title with two different clubs (open list): Jean-Guy Gautier, Alexandre Pharamond, Adolphe Jauréguy (and finalist with 2 other clubs!), François Borders, Jean Larrieu, Albert Cazenave, Eugene Ribère, Jean Matheu-Cambas, André Abadie, Michel Crauste, François Moncla, Didier Codorniou, Geoffrey Abadie, Vincent Moscato, Serge Simon, Philippe Gimbert, Olivier Roumat, Jerome Fillol, Benoît August, Jacques Sagols.
Organization of the championship
The formula retained for the champion nomination of France of Rugby to XV and the number of clubs which take part in the competition changed with very many recoveries. Whatever the number of participating clubs, the championship proceeds since the end of the Second world war in two times:
- a phase of qualification, gathering the groups within hen S, in general geographical; there was certain years a second best hen phase integrating first phase; then
- a final stage with matches with direct elimination with each turn.
Evolution of the formula: time amateurBetween 1892 and 1898, only some Parisian clubs clash between them. But the opening of the championship to the clubs of province in 1899 requires the installation of a mode of selection for the final stages about objective. To the First World War, the participants come thus from regional championships (between three and seventeen following years) and dispute final stages with direct elimination. After 1919, the championship becomes really national, with geographical hens, of which the winners disputed a second hen phase, before final stages. The number of clubs varies then in general between 40 and 54.
Stopped between 1939 and 1942, the championship begins again during the Occupation and seeks its ideal formula. Sign gropings and uncertainties related to the context, the season 1942-43 includes/understands 95 clubs, that of 1943-44 96, and that of 1944-45… 126! The stabilization brought by the end of the conflict makes it possible to set out again on more solid bases. The season 1946-47 includes three successive qualificative phases with 64 clubs, then 32 clubs, and finally 16 clubs qualified for the eighth of finale
Between 1947-48 and 1991-92, a qualificative phase makes it possible to retain 32 teams to dispute sixteenth of finale or 16 teams to dispute eighth of finale. One drew up a table of the meetings, which was function of the classification of the teams during the phase of qualification (the classified first meeting the last qualified, 2nd the before last one etc) and the qualification for the following turns was done in general on only one match.
The competition is disputed by a number of teams which is successively of 40 (1947-48 with 1950-51), 64 (1951-52 and 1952-53), 48 (1953-54 with 1958-59), 56 (1959-60 with 1966-67), 64 (1967-68 with 1974-75), 80 (1975-76 with 1978-79) and 40 (1979-80 with 1986-87).
An innovation of most original occurs at the time of the season 1973-74. The 64 clubs are distributed with equal share between two groups: the Group has, gathering the 32 better former season, and the Group B, gathering the 32 following. The Group has qualifies 24 clubs for the final stage, and the Group B 8, so that clubs classified a priori in a lower division can be qualified for the final stages of higher division and thus, in theory, to gain the championship of France. This invention had as a benefit (primarily political for the president of the Federation, which was elected by the presidents of clubs) to maintain the illusion of the first widened division and thus to satisfy a greater number of clubs. Given up the following year, the system is restored at the time of the season 1975-76 with 80 clubs (40 in each group), and qualified 25 clubs of the Group has and 7 of the Group B. the formula was maintained more or less until 1978-79. From the following season, the 40 clubs of the Group B dispute a championship with share and do not have any more the possibility of qualifying itself for the final stages of Group A. Consequently, the Group has is organized in 4 hens of 10 clubs, of which the eight first are described for sixteenth as finale (5 hens of eight in 1983-84).
The formula appreciably changes for the championship 1987-88 with 80 clubs grouped into sixteen hens of five. The two first of each hen, either 32 clubs, take part then in a second phase of qualification (called Groupe A) including/understanding four hens of eight of which the four first (or sixteen clubs) take part in eighth of finale disputed by matches outward journey and return. The following turns are disputed by direct elimination on a match. This formula is preserved only until the season 1989-90. The season 1990-91 introduces a transitory formula with 80 clubs divided into twenty hens of four whose 40 clubs distributed in five hens leave eight. The organization of the season 1991-92 is it also preserved only one season with two groups of forty clubs which qualify thirty two clubs to dispute sixteenth of finale.
The season 1992-93 mark a material change in the organization of the championship, because it shows a first reduction of the elite, which passes from 40 to 32 clubs divided into four hens of 8. At the conclusion of a first qualificative phase, the teams placed at the first four places of each hen are qualified to dispute a Signal 16 made up of four hens of four teams. The eight teams classified in the first two places of each hen of Signal 16 dispute quarterfinals which like the following turns are done by direct elimination on a match. This formula is preserved three years until the season 1994-95.
Evolution of the formula: professional timeThe advent of professionalism in Rugby with XV in the southern hemisphere and in England in 1995 reached France quickly. In January 1996, the Union of the Clubs is founded to defend the interests of the 40 clubs of the first division (Groups has and B then A1 and A2). The French federation then creates the National Commission of Rugby of Elite (CNRE), in charge of the administrative management of the clubs of the elite. It precedes the creation of a professional league which is born in July 1998 under the name of National league of Rugby (LNR). It then gathers 16 clubs become “public limit companies with sporting object” (SAOS). At the present time, there exist 30 professional clubs in France.
The objective of holding of professionalism was to reduce the number of clubs of elite in order to make the competition gravitational and readable for the public, by limiting the confrontations of the best clubs with definitely lower clubs and by concentrating the best players in a restricted number teams in order to raise the level of the championship. The creation of the Cut of Europe and the existence of a English championship limited to 12 clubs since 1987 were other very inciting elements. This “revolution” was not done without clashes.
The championship 1995-96, which was held during the passage to the professionalism, is announced by a reduction of the number of clubs, which passes to twenty, grouped in two hens of ten. The first four teams of each hen are qualified for the eighth of finale, eight other teams are qualified at the time of matches of stopping with teams of the group lower A2. This formula is preserved two years.
The championship 1997-98 is disputed by twenty teams divided into two hens of ten. The four first of each hen dispute quarterfinals by matches outward journey and return, then each semi-final is exploited only one match. In front of criticisms of the presidents of clubs excluded from the elite, the number of participants goes up to 24 (three hens of eight) in 1998-99. 16 clubs are retained for the following phase which includes/understands 4 hens of four clubs, eight the best being qualified to dispute quarterfinals.
The season 1999-2000 is again disputed by 24 teams divided into two hens of 12. The first two teams of each hen are qualified for the quarterfinals like four teams resulting from matches of stopping. The continuation of the competition is done by direct elimination.
The elite really starts to tighten in 2000-01 with 21 teams divided into two hens (one of 10, one of 11 clubs). The first four teams of each hen are qualified to dispute quarterfinals, the competition continuing with direct elimination until the final.
The elite is again reduced in 2001-02 with the creation of the Top 16 which includes/understands 16 clubs divided into two hens. The first four clubs of each hen dispute then play-offs , two hens of four of which the two first are qualified for the semi-finals. This formula is preserved until the season 2003-04.
The championship 2004-05 joins together for the first time a single hen of sixteen clubs, the first four teams are qualified to dispute the semi-finals.
The championship takes finally the name of Top 14 as from the season 2005-2006, as its name indicates it, fourteen clubs dispute this competition. The first four teams are qualified for the semi-finals. This formula is also in force in 2006-07.
The number of clubs taking part in the first division of the championship of France east thus remained high until 1992 (40), before decreasing regularly until the current number of 14 clubs. The number of clubs selected to take part in the final stage of the championship fell to him by 32 (since sixteenth of finale until the final) to 4 (final semi-final then) since 1981.
Points with the classification
A team marks four, two or zero points with the classification of the regular phase of the championship, respectively when it gains, made tie or loses a match. Moreover points of no-claims bonus, offensive and defensive, are granted as from the season 2004-05 to support the offensive play and to maintain the interest of a match until the end of the meeting.
A point of defensive no-claims bonus is granted any team beaten by a lower deviation or equal to seven points.
As from the season 2007-08, a point of offensive no-claims bonus is granted to a team which registers three tests moreover than her adversary, before it was enough to mark at least four tests in a match. Consequently, two teams cannot mark any more one point of offensive no-claims bonus in the same match.
ArbitrationIn the Signal 14, each meeting is managed by a team from seven to eight referees: a referee of field, two linesmen (specialized in this function), two referees in charge of the replacements (one by team), two referees of in-goals in charge exclusively to make sure of the validity of the tests. Moreover, there can be a video referee (final stages only and for all the matches as from the season 2007-08).
The referees of the championship of France are amateurs, with three exceptions near: Joel Jutge, Eric Darrière and Christophe Berdos, which professional and is authorized to arbitrate test matches between major teams of the international circuit.
Qualification for the European tests
The classification of the championship of France makes it possible to determine the clubs which are allowed to take part in the Coupe of Europe of Rugby with XV and with the European Challenge of Rugby to XV. Six or seven French clubs best classified with the championship of France take part in the Cut of Europe, the other teams of the elite dispute the European Challenge.
The number of French clubs allowed to take part in the Cut of Europe depends on the service of the French clubs at the time of the former editions of the cut. Thus, seven clubs were allowed after the victory of the Stade Toulousain at the time of the Coupe of Europe 2004-2005. The French clubs have a very good assessment in this cut of Europe, with 3 titles gained by the Stade Toulousain and one by the CA Brive. Twice the final opposed two French clubs: Stade Toulousain - the USA Perpignan in 2003 and Stade Toulousain - French Stage in 2005.
The French clubs as well behaved in the European Challenge, disputed for the first time in 1996-97, by gaining four times consecutively the competition of 1997 with 2000. All the clubs of the Signal 14 not qualified for the Cut of Europe are automatically engaged in European Challenge, including promoted.
The first diffusion of a finale of the championship of France on television took place in 1957. She opposed FC Doors to the Racing Club of France to Lyon. It was however not the first time that a match of Rugby was retransmis on television, because in the years 1952-1953 FR had made an agreement with Broadcasting French Television for the retransmission of matches on line in the Paris region. There was however a condition: the retransmission was not to be announced in advance in order not to reduce the number of spectators going to the stage. The diffusion of the matches of the Five Nations tournament also began in 1957.
During long years, the diffusion of the matches of the championship was reserved for ORTF, then with the chains of the public service, Antenne 2 in general resulting from the ORTF. At that time, Pierre Sabbagh, but especially the duet Roger Couderc - Pierre Albaladejo largely contributes to the popularization of Rugby with XV in France.
For reasons of programming, the finale of the championship is disputed into night starting from 1982. However, Antenna 2 retransmet only of the meetings of the final stages, never of the matches of the preliminary phase. That changes with the arrival of the encrypted chain Canal +. This one acquires the rights of the matches of the championship and starts to diffuse meetings of the preliminary phases. Moreover, it modernizes considerably the retransmissions while taking as a starting point the receipts which it successfully applied to football: taken antenna well before the kickoff to present in-depth meeting, to defer at the edge of the ground and in the cloakrooms, recourse to statistics etc the recourse to the consultants becomes systematic. Many former players currently intervened or intervene as consultants with Canal + or France 2; according to the example of Pierre Albaladejo, it was the case in particular of Serge Blanco, Thierry Lacroix and it is currently the case of Philippe Sella, Eric Bonneval, Jerome Cazalbou and Philippe Bernat-Rooms.
The matches of the Signal 14 are currently diffused by Canal+ and the finale of the Top 14 2006-07 Co-was diffused into encrypted by Canal+ and light on France 2.
The Canal+ group preserved the rebroadcast rights of 2007 to 2011 at a cost of a little more than 100 million Euro S, that is to say between 24 and 29 million euros per season. All meetings of the Signal 14" will be retransmises, that is to say 185 matches per season, that to allow to have recourse to the video arbitration at the time of each meeting.
Rugby in general and the Signal 14 in particular are largely covered in the columns of the Olympic Midi, Journal twice-weekly French specialized in Rugby, of Rugby Hebdo which has a weekly diffusion, and daily newspaper the Team, like in the sports pages of the regional newspapers, in particular in the south of France.
Financial aspects and popularityLNR negotiates and markets the rights of television and partnership of the championship of France of Rugby SIGNAL 14 and PRO D2. The principal official partners for the Signal 14 are: Orange (until 2008), the General society, Canal+, PMU (until 2008), GMF, Gédimat, EDF, the Team, Goal, Olympic Midday, Viacom, Europcar and NRJ.
In 2006, the average turnover of a club of the elite was of 8,25 million Euro S, it was multiplied by three in six years but it was four times lower than that of a club of Football of Ligue 1 in 2006. In this field, Rugby is the second sport in France, in front of the Basket-ball. The average budget of the clubs of the Signal 14 should approach that of the clubs of League 1, but an important variation should remain because football remains by far the most popular sport in France and abroad, the televisual rights were re-examined to the rise at the time of the invitation to tender in 2007 (+ 50%) and of the clubs like the French Stade, the Stade Toulousain and the Olympic Biarritz starts to compete with football clubs in term of popularity and of capacity of attraction of Sponsor S. the organization of the edition 2007 of the world cup of Rugby in France should popularize Rugby more with XV apart from its traditional areas of establishment.
Certain clubs of Pro D2 also build increasingly impressive budgets, like Toulon, Lyon and the Racing, with for ambition returning quickly in the elite and playing an active role there. These clubs are reinforced with foreign players of reputation who have a renumeration definitely higher than that of the other players of the Signal 14, about: the 400000 euros annual for best of them. On a purely comparative basis the wages of a player of confirmed French Rugby are of: 7000 euros Nets per month, is approximately six times less than one football player of Ligue 1. In 2006, it is Frederic Michalak which gained the most money, premiums and advertizing revenues included/understood, with: 690000 euros annual.
Eager to extirpate the Rugby of its traditional bastions of the south to make of it a really national sport, the president of the French Stage, max Guazzini, the chart of the spectacle and the provocation plays to make speak about its club and its sport, thinking that it is advisable to treat Rugby as a company of spectacle which must attract a new public, in particular the young people and the women. It organizes several matches of the Signal 14 with the Stade de France, succeeding in attracting on several occasions more: 80000 spectators. These matches become true spectacles with Pom pom girl S, giant Karaoké, fire-eaters etc With these initiatives, Rugby with XV between not only in the era of professionalism, but in that of the “sport-spectacle”, which is not taste of many amateurs of Rugby attached to the values of amateurism only this sport continues to assert. Its initiatives, attract as many praises to him as criticisms, but it succeeds in making move the championship like anybody before. (See the article on the French Stage for other details.)
The club of Bourgoin-Jallieu timidly encased the step of the French Stage by organizing a match of the Signal 14 with the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard of Saint-Etienne and a match of Coupe of Europe to the Stade of Geneva, is in two stages of at least: 30000 places.
One of the corollaries to professionalism is the considerable increase of the number of foreign players evolving/moving in the French professional clubs. Some critical scratch what they see like a drift of the clubs, aiming at ensuring a short-term profitability with players directly usable and often less dear, with the detriment of the training of young French players, and thus of the Team of France, in particular at certain stations (pillars, halves of opening, backs).
The championship of France is increasingly popular, at the time of the season 2006-07 there were 10.550 spectators per match, that is to say a progression of 8% per report/ratio the season précéente. On the whole, 1.920.079 spectators assisted with the 182 matches regular phase of the championship. The increase in the popularity of the championship profits owing to the fact that Rugby is generally more popular in France, it is due also to the introduction of the Signal 14 with a finally stablilized formula and a ressérée elite comparable with that of the other great competitions of Rugby (Super 14, Championnat of England of Rugby to XV and Celtic League).
The price of the places for a match of the Signal 14 is completely accessible, it is usually of 10 euros for a place in lawn, and from 15 to 40 euros for desplaces in steps.
Competitions and supporters
The clubs of Rugby to XV of the championship of France Signal 14, like those of the other popular collective sports, are followed and supported by many and faithful supporters. At the time of the matches of the Signal 14 or cut of Europe, they carry the traditional colors of their club: blue sky and white of the Bayonne Oar, red and black of the Stade Toulousain, the blood and gold of USAP, sky and garnet of CSBJ, yellow and blue of ASM and… it pink of the French Stage. etc Even if a great competition exists since glosses between these clubs, the relations are good between the groups of supporters and one should not regret of clashes, as opposed to what one can note sometimes in football. This healthy competition allows one major Basque clubs, the Olympic Biarritz, to play on the ground of its large rival, the Bayonne Oar, when its Parc of the Sports of Aguiléra is in work. Difficult to imagine the Olympic Lyonese disputing a match " with domicile" with the Stage Geoffroy-Guichard of his rival the ACE Saint-Etienne.
The supporters actively support their club during the matches of the championship, act like one sixteenth man of the team, and in this field the palm currently returns to those of the Bayonne Oar which received in 2007 the challenge of best the supporters of the Signal 14. This club fights each year to ensure its maintenance among the elite and it reached that point partly thanks to the support of its supporters which makes it possible to the players to be transcended. As can do it the Welsh or Irish supporters, they support their team by entonnant their traditional song: '' Pena baiona '' or '' fronts of Bayonne ''.
Historical or regional competitions exist, and they are generally maintained by the supporters. Thus, Brive and Montferrand compete for the supremacy of the center of France, Béziers, Narbonne and Perpignan has a long story in Languedoc-Roussillon. Nevertheless, the limitation of the number of clubs involves also the disappearance of such confrontations and thus of the folklore which accompanied them. New sporting competitions emergent, like that opposing the French Stage to Biarritz, regular candidates with the championship since the beginning of the years 2000, and whose meetings since 2005 have sometimes relents of sulfur. The Parisian club is besides often ridges some with the mocking remarks and the sarcastic remarks on the grounds of province. On the occasion, the presidents of clubs chamaillent themselves by press interposed following a meeting lost or gained on a litigious test, but manners of the championship of France remain extremely healthy.
Notes & References
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