The Fédération Française de Rugby à Treize has announced an encouraging set of statistics pointing toward a significant growth in French rugby league. As of May 1st, the FFRXIII numbered 39,994 participants, of whom 10,994 are subscribers who have signed up for the whole season, from all age groups.

These numbers show a marked increase of 4,840 paying registered participants since the 2004-5 season, a surge replicated in the school system where now more than 29,000 children play rugby league. In the same time period, the number of official associations (clubs and other bodies) affiliated to the French federation have increased by ten per cent.

Commenting on the analysis, FFRXIII president Nicolas Larrat was understandably ebullient about the state of the game in the nation, “These figures clearly demonstrate all the work being done by French rugby league and its operatives in promoting the sport,” he said. “The growth in all sectors is remarkable and we have every reason to be optimistic about the road ahead. Our objective of 15,000 paying licence holders and 50,000 participants we set out to achieve by 2015 is no longer an illusion, and it would represent exceptional growth in a ten-year period.”

He continued, “It goes without saying that I must thank the federation’s elected officials for their dedication, all those people in charge of clubs, leagues and [regional] committees that support and implement the federation’s policies; our technical staff and development officers for the work they do on a daily basis.  But, I tell them that we can do even better and trying to create schools competitions is first and foremost a priority. That link, between schools and our leagues is more important than ever. Now that we’ve created a strong foundation it is the FFRXIII’s duty to be even more ambitious.”

“The federation is understandably confident that it is in a strong position, with the methods to teach and develop rugby league and to be considered a serious and worthwhile choice for a growing number of French citizens.”

That – according to Larrat – is the “biggest victory.”


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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  1. Alex-P says:

    The sooner the French get a fully pro comp, the better. An 8 team league would be a good starter, and as it grows call back Catalans and Toulouse, the latter even there from the start.

    • druzik says:

      The French comp is pretty much professional, well the Elite 1 anyway … the money isn’t like the NRL, but a top player can still earn upto about $200,000 a year. If it wasn’t you wouldn’t have ex-NRL and ESL players playing in it. To be in the E1 you need to show that you have the finances and stability to pay players and not go bust to play in it. The 10 team comp they have now is about right for them now I feel.

      • dragons4eva says:

        $200 000!!! I didn’t know players could earn that much!!! (well the top players anyway).

        With the Elite 1 don’t get me wrong it is a very prestigious and well run competition, however i do think Toulous and Les Catalans should (atleast one day) should play in it full time. At the moment the Dragons (SL side lol) is playing very well and helping develop top line French players. Toulouse is a good side however their Championship results aren’t too flash hot. Yeah it’s a professionally run squad and teams do have up and down seasons but it seems they’re not doing quite well in the competition.

        Anyway purely my own opinion.

      • druzik says:

        Interesting take on it, but consider these two things:
        1. Look it takes time to get results, the GC titans took a few years to make the Play offs when they came in no?
        2. The future should be in bringing up the French competition to a higher standard. Whats better for development, 2 teams that play in an elite competition where only about 50 players get to run, or having 10-12 top teams with 300 players running around at the top.

  2. Jon says:

    $200k? Are you sure?

    I’d much rather see Catalans stay in SL with their second team competing in the French league.

    • druzik says:

      Yep, when I hung out with Chris Beatty in 2008 in Beziers and also chatted with Clint Greenshields in 2009, they said that the top players can get that much, or they get a smaller salary but will get a free apartment and car and other perks… remember that many good ex-NRL players are there and have been there. So they need to offer something decent for them to go… plus southern france aint a bad place to live in either IMHO… I certainly enjoyed it the number of times I went there.

  3. Chris Sanders says:

    If these figures are correct unlike the ones here in NZ,then 2 French SL Franchises must be added to the mix for the 2013 without fail.

  4. luke says:

    heyy just asking if any off you guys could lead me in the right direction … im in australia n want to go to france n play rugby league

    • druzik says:

      Luke the best thing to do is to contact one of the French Clubs. From what I know in the past usually clubs need a resume of sorts with a Video of you playing and then you’ll need to head to France for an actual trial.

      • luke says:

        awk thanks for that … do you have any suggestions on clubs ?

      • druzik says:

        Well Lezignan are the Powerhouse at the moment … Carcassonne, is also a good club, Toulouse is a strong club. Montpellier is a fairly new club back in the LER 1 and trying to build a team, that could be a good start… UTC or Pia in around Perpinan are strong, but these are very small towns though… they do feed into Catalans Dragons though, so could be a way into Super League.

  5. luke says:


    • druzik says:

      The French and Australian season are staggered. So their season started 2 weeks ago actually and will run through to May.

      They have two competitions in France that are played. The Elite 1 which is the regular domestic competition based on League tables and also the Lord Derby Cup which is the second oldest knock out competition in Rugby League after the Challenge Cup.

      The french are very passionate and very full on with their support for the sport.

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