Toulon chief wants 'gate refunds'

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:10
Large mourad boudjellal toulon 800

TOP 14 SPOTLIGHT: Controversial Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal fumed that his team would stop playing on Sundays unless the French league pays them compensation.

Three-time European champions Toulon slumped to eighth in the Top 14 table after losing 40-29 at home to 2016 champions Racing 92 on Sunday.

But it is not so much results that have angered the comic book magnate, but gate receipts at the Mayol stadium.

Toulon had actually won their previous home matches on Sundays but Boudjellal was riled by the mere 13,500 crowd that came to watch the Racing match, compared with the more than 16,000 that attended their previous two home matches that took place on Saturdays.

"I won't play on Sundays any more if we don't get the fair compensation we deserve," he said.

"We'll forfeit the games!

"On Sunday at Mayol the stadium was empty. That's two years now that we've been put in difficulty over Sunday matches.

"We have a project based on ticket sales, merchandising (but) some people at the League have decided to kill us."

Boudjellal vowed to write to French sports minister Laura Flessel, the former Olympic champion fencer, to air his grievances.

"We'll be relegated to the second division [through forfeiting matches]. I won't back down.

"Whatever happens, I don't care. If we play on Sundays, we'll be relegated to the second division, I couldn't care less.

"I'm fed up with being the Top 14's money pit."

Toulon were European champions three years in a row from 2013-15 with a team based around star foreign veterans such as Jonny Wilkinson, Ali Williams, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana.

But they have fallen from their perch since then, despite reaching the Top 14 final last season.

And even with the likes of New Zealand legend Ma'a Nonu and South Africa No.8 Duane Vermeulen, their form this season has been patchy at best.

Agence France-Presse