French RL facing financial black hole


The French Rugby League Federation (FFR13) has revealed that the organisation made a €200,000 loss for the French financial year from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

FFR13 president Marc Palanques has confirmed that the organisation knew about the financial hole in the summer, but could not go public with it.

In a statement on the FFR’s official website, Palanques also revealed that financial issues had placed the participation of France in the World Cup next year in serious doubt.

His statement reads:

“At the end of the Financial General Meeting of December 17, 2016, the Federation Francaise de Rugby a XIII informs you:

“The public accounting firm and the auditors selected by the previous Federation team confirmed the loss of 204,275 euros for the fiscal year from 1/07/2015 to 30/06/2016.

“As a reminder, the former president had announced a profit at the congress of Montpellier in June 2016.

“The holding of this assembly and the subsequent vote enable us today to communicate on the consequences of this abysmal and very serious loss for a federation like ours.

“As soon as I was elected on July 2,2016, I immediately expressed my deep concern at a loss of around €250,000 and was forced to take a number of decisions that called for quick and painful trade-offs, especially for a former player like me, who had been denied a World Cup in Australia during his career.

“The question of the participation of the French men’s team in the 2017 World Cup has also arisen from this summer, and it is in this shadow and behind the scenes that the financial negotiations were conducted (away from the spotlight of the media, some of whom did not bring us any support, and the same ones are now quick to disparage once again our sport, and our will to come together).”

The financial situation means that the France Women’s, Students and Wheelchair teams will not now participate in their respective World Cups next year.

The FFR13 has taken steps to mitigate the shock of this announcement, with the Wheelchair RL World Cup looking set to be relocated to France, and a European Women’s tournament also being organised.

“If the Wheelchair RL World Cup will not be played in Australia, it is in France in the summer of 2017 that the nations of the will meet in the context of the RLWC 2017,” said Palanques.

“This World Cup in France has been achieved by the determination and the will of an entire team.

“If the women do not go to Australia, it is in France that we will try to organize a European Tournament, with several teams already lined up, and which will take place in June 2017.”

Palanques was also failry scathing about the previous regime at the FFR13, stating:

“We learn today, through statements in a newspaper, that a specific bank account would have been opened by the previous regime in order to participate in this World Cup.

“Receipts [show] there is nothing visible in the account, which has now been stopped.

“It is only spending and loss that the regime now in place is forced to manage, with a rigor and an urgency that is equal only to the gravity of the situation.”

Palanques also called on all elements of the game in France to come together and work as hard as possible to make the game succeed across the Channel.

“We understand the disappointment of some, because we have had to accept a situaion which has been imposed on us, we have had to measure the catastrophic financial situation of a destitute Federation, which was spending money that it didn’t have.

“Rugby league is on the rise, and our TV audience rating for the Test Match between France and England are testament to this.

“The FFR13 is preparing to innovate, to invent or to create whenever the vicissitudes or the legacy of an expensive presidency leave us little room (or in this case not at all) for the promotion or smooth running of our national team, or international sporting events.

“We have known this truth since I became president, but we were not allowed to share it with you until today.

“But, we are all competitors and we love rugby league above all, so TOGETHER let’s do everything possible to not see the game being soiled, rebuffed and penalised by lies or defamation.”