Toulouse pay for opposition away trips to France but hope to strike new deal upon Super League survival

Olympique agreed to foot the bill for all their opponents’ travel expenses as a condition of their entry into the competition.

French Super League newcomers Toulouse Olympique have agreed to foot the bill for all their opponents’ travel expenses as a condition of their entry into the competition for 2022 but hope to negotiate a new deal if the club avoid relegation.

This was revealed by chief executive Cedric Garcia as an explanation why the club have been unable to come up with a television deal for their home games, unlike French neighbours Catalans Dragons.

It was a condition also imposed on Toronto Wolfpack when they won promotion to the top flight in 2019 but Garcia confirmed that, unlike the Canadian club, Toulouse receive the same amount of funding as their Super League rivals.

“The conditions to enter Super League in 2022 were to fund the away teams and match officials’ trips and we accepted them,” Garcia said.

“I do not want to make a big story about it. We would hope to strike a better deal for next year but we first need to stay there.”

Rhodri Jones, Super League’s chief commercial officer, said: “It’s part of their participation in the competition at the moment.”

Jones confirmed that Super League provided some financial assistance to the Dragons, who are footing the bill for the production costs of a French broadcaster to provide live coverage of nine of their 13 home matches in 2022.

Jones added: “The Dragons have this year provided a TV coverage solution in France. That’s been done by the Dragons with some help from us.

“We’ve got to keep knocking on the door. The other thing that will hopefully be helpful for us is the 2025 World Cup in France.

“I don’t think they can afford not to cover the sport when there’s a World Cup on their home soil.”

Asked if the agreement to pay travelling expenses was fair or sustainable on the Toulouse club, Super League chairman Ken Davy said: “That’s a question I can’t answer.

“But in terms of the Rugby League World Cup being held in France, is a tremendous feather in the cap of French rugby league and I would have thought they would have a real opportunity to build support for the game.

“The result that Toulouse had against St Helens has made everyone sit up and take note and I would hope its impact in France will increase the possibility of a television deal.”