Toulouse home advantage in play-offs “unfair”, says Featherstone chief

Featherstone chief executive Martin Vickers says Toulouse have twice refused requests to play them in France and that their home advantage in the play-offs is “unfair”.

Toulouse will lift the Championship League Leaders’ Shield after their final regular season game at Newcastle this weekend, which is only the 13th time they have taken to the field all year.

1895 Cup final winners Featherstone will have played twice as many games as Toulouse by the time the play-offs begin, taking in 21 league games, three Challenge Cup fixtures and two in the 1895 Cup.

Vickers said: “The question I have been asked most by our fans in the last couple of weeks is around the location of the finals series, and I share fans concerns about the games being scheduled to be played potentially in France.

“It just seems unfair that a team playing only 12 games in a season avoiding the challenges of week in week out rugby are now given the added advantage of a potential home finals series.”

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Both Toulouse and Featherstone will have home semi-finals on October 2, with the Grand Final the following week to be played in Toulouse, if the French side win that match.

All 11 of their scheduled regular season home games in France were not played, with part-time teams unable to travel due to quarantine restrictions – though Vickers says Featherstone have twice made an approach to re-arrange their trip to the Stade Ernest Wallon.

Vickers added: “The travel conditions in France have allowed British clubs to travel to France for the last six weeks, this in a period when most players have received both their vaccinations, yet an arbitrary date of 1st October which just so happens to be the start of the play-off series has been set for teams to now travel to France.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago for me when at the Toronto Wolfpack that had they been able to play in Super League in 2020 post COVID, were told to play home and away in the UK, yet just 12 months later we are faced with a contradictory approach. This can be very frustrating at times!

All Clubs have been encouraged by the Governing Body to seek rearrangement of postponed games towards the end of the season and there is no reason why a game can’t be played in France at the present time.

“As a Club we have been flatly refused on two occasions by Toulouse to replay our game on a weekend or mid-week which is a great disappointment for the whole game.  

“I am scratching my head as to why this couldn’t have been arranged.”

PERMUTATIONS: Championship round-up: Whitehaven take play-off race to the final day

Even if Featherstone had been able to travel to Toulouse, a win in France wouldn’t have been enough to displace them at the top of the table on the points percentage format – owing to the deduction handed to Rovers for COVID breaches earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, Batley, Bradford and Halifax have already secured their places to join Toulouse and Featherstone in the Championship play-offs, with the final spot a shoot-out between London and Whitehaven this weekend.

A win for London at York will see them in the top six, but they will be pipped by Whitehaven if the Cumbrians can win away at Bradford and the Broncos slip up on the road.

18 Comments

  1. I fully agree that it is unfair and that the rlfc are all out for toulouse to win promotion any other sport this would not be allowed.I just hope clubs will take legal action and stand up for there supporters as it is them that are losing out as well

  2. As per usual RL make a right hash of everything … there aren’t many guarantees in life however RL messing up is one them . I think Featherstone have good reason to be miffed at the way things have panned out and funnily enough it fits well with “expanding super league” as they’ve wanted 2 French teams in for years !!

  3. As a Widnes vikings fan , it’s plain to see they don’t want featherstone in super league , they want Toulouse because they rather have a team in super league that can bring money into the game , the hierarchy don’t want you , the only thing you can do is beat these french people and get promotion. Good luck Flat cappers . You have history behind you in this game

  4. Aussie view – m62 fans can’t have it both ways, Championship sides didn’t want to travel to France earlier in the year. Now they want to whinge when TO are top. The RFL really should have promoted TO at the beginning of the year isn’t of Leigh… another m62 call.
    Good luck to the Rovers but hope TO get up.
    Supper League needs a mix of m62 clubs (relegation) and licence teams for expansion 2 in France increasing ASAP.

  5. The best thing all the Teams in the Championship and Division 1 can do is walk away from the RFL and set up a new League let them have their Super league rugby is for þhe fans not lining the pockets of red hall come on fans lets stick together and make this happen

  6. As a Superleague fan, what’s going on in the Championship is bordering on embarrassing for the game, the % fiasco is bad enough, as it will always favour teams playing less games, but add to that constant changes in the rules/requirements to totally favour just one team is sending a clear message, that this is all about what the RFL want, and not what the game or the fans want.
    It’s about time the RFL actually took a step back and opened both their eyes and ears for once.

  7. Fair or not is irrelevant do your talking on the feild your not even in the final yet, an personally hope neither fev or Toulouse get premoted that lisses on everyone’s bonfire but that’s sport an reigatiin an permutation
    Suck it up bradford or fax come on get into em xxx

  8. Well, for one Leigh proved they had no right to be in the Super League this season, and they’ve no right to be in it next yesr! Featherstone have proven their credentials over several years, but the RFL don’t recognise their merit on performances alone. Toulouse are stuck, the law on movement in France during the pandemic was different to the UK, they got caught up in that. It does seem that 12 games is too few to merit promotion to be honest. But, Leigh MUST be relegated, they should never have been in Super League, it comes down to two, Featherstone have earned it, but could they survive financially, and Toulouse have also won the games they could play, are better placed to succeed financially. The RFL have always shown they’ll come up with a total dog’s breakfast, they’ll probably admit a combined team under the Barbarians banner from Union. I wouldn’t put anything past them!

  9. The rules were set at the start of the season. But then the RFL changed those rules to suit one team Toulouse. Featherstone had two points deducted after a transgression in a CC match the very day after they played Toulouse! So if Featherstone had turned up on the day and won the RFL we’re still making sure they remained second. Cas and Huddersfield also breached Covid regs but no points deducted. Finally Featherstone have repeatedly tried to play their away game in Toulouse in France. But Toulouse have refused to play and again the RFL remain silent. Time to form breakaway leagues as SL and the RFL couldn’t give a toss in regards to the heartlands.

  10. Undoubtedly, whatever a person thinks about Toulouse and their 12 games and the percentage system, it is blatantly wrong to play the final in Toulouse. As it was wrong last time to play in Toronto. Featherstone keep coming up against this. It is not long ago they topped the Championship table four years on the trot – without promotion. How they keep going from strength to strength … and keep being knocked back I don’t know! It would be tough for Featherstone to beat Toulouse in this final (if they both get there). Whoever gets promoted will struggle but French (and Canadian) teams have no place in a UK based competition. Let us see what the next five years brings under this misguided (and biased) Rugby League management.

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