Toulon and Lyon are two of the Top 14 clubs poised to collaborate with Japanese franchises in a new partnership as Japanese rugby looks to capitalise on their successful Rugby World Cup.
The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the organising body for professional rugby in France, is working with Japan’s rugby union (JRFU) around the restructure of elite club rugby in Japan.
Speaking at the Sportel sports industry conference in Monaco, LNR’s vice president Alain Tingaud revealed his body’s involvement in an overhaul of the Japanese Top League, which he said could also see several top-tier French Pro 14 clubs align with new Japanese rugby franchises.
“[JRFU is] working today to change the way their championship will be organised in the future and they need to change the way the clubs are organised in their structure; not only in their own leagues, but to be more like the clubs in France,” Tingaud said on Tuesday.
“A club like Clermont was once belonging to Michelin [the French tyre manufacturer]; much like the Júbilo franchise belonging to Yamaha and operating in Japan. Now, today, Clermont is independent from Michelin and the club has its own economy.
“What they [the JRFU] want to do is, first of all, to fix every club to a stadium, and then after that to have more economic independence and a championship that is closer to what we do here in France. We have more than 20 years of experience in building the Top 14, and what we want is to help them to build this championship.”
Tingaud said that the strategic alignment would see the two leagues “exchange ideas, players, and also partnerships”, with Toulon and Lyon cited as potential clubs to align with Japanese teams.
Tingaud also revealed similar plans for the LNR to partner with the Major League Rugby (MLR) in the US, with details to come on that arrangement at the beginning of 2020.
Story via: sportspromedia.com