French tweak their lower leagues
NEWS: The French Federation streamlined its third division, creating a single pool of 14 teams in the hope it offers clubs the chance to get on a proper footing before venturing into the professional leagues.
The third division, which will be called la Nationale, was previously the Federale 1 and comprised an unwieldy 48 teams divided into four pools of 12.
The new Nationale represented a “real anteroom for the professional divisions… a springboard towards the elite”, the federation said in reference to the Top 14 and the second division ProD2.
The Nationale is scheduled to start on September 12-13 and run until April 24-25, with play-offs for promotion into the ProD2 in May culminating in a final on May 29-30.
Albi, Dax, Massy, Nice, Tarbes, Suresnes, Blagnac, Aubenas, Narbonne, Bourgoin, Dijon, Chambery, Bourg-en-Bresse and Cognac will make up the new division between Federale 1 and the ProD2.
The federation added that it had estimated that its 2020-21 budget would run at a loss of €5.63-million (US$6.34-million), notably because of funds diverted to help clubs during the coronavirus pandemic which has seen the French rugby season scrapped.
Without that diversion of funds, the budget would have been €2.4-million in the black, it added.
“The FFR made the choice to come to the help of its network in a very difficult economic and social time,” it said.