Racing 92 and Stade Francais to Merge.

Cunners10

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Hello This is Massive News.

In stunning news on Monday, Top 14 clubs Racing 92 and Stade Français have announced that they will merge to form a new club next season.

Racing, Top 14 champions in 2016, and Stade, champions in 2015, have rocked French rugby with the announcement.

A press conference is due to take place at 16:00 local time (15:00 GMT).

 

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robbieando

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Massive indeed.

The last two Champions of France merging in quite an unthinkable way. Seems to me to be a Racing takeover of State Francais.

The playing squad off the bat will be impressive. But decision over which coaching staff to go with will be the interesting part considering the success of both clubs the last two years. Huge rivals on and off the field.

Why I say it seem to be a takeover by Racing 92 is that they were due to move into Arena 92 in La Défense (30,000 seater roofed stadium privately funded by Racing themselves) in September, while Stade Francais stadium the Stade Jean Bouin was completely rebuilt in only in 2010. As one is owned by Racing outright and the other owned by the city of Paris. You can see which one they will pick.

This makes no sense personally and as a Racing fan I can't say I'm a fan of this happening.
 

robbieando

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Reading this it could really be a 50/50 merger. But we as fans wait on the Press Conference later today.

http://www.france24.com/en/20170313-racing-92-stade-francais-shock-rugby-merger-bid


© AFP/File | Racing 92 president Jacky Lorenzetti (left) and Stade Francais president Thomas Savare
PARIS (AFP) -

French rugby giants Racing 92 and Stade Francais, who have won the past two Top 14 titles, on Monday announced a shock plan to merge from next season.

Racing and Stade Francais are two of the biggest rivals in the French championship and the announcement came as a lightning bolt for European rugby.

"This association, effective from next season, will give birth to a new club that preserves the roots of Racing 92 and Stade Francais Paris, while expanding the means for youth and French rugby," said a statement announcing the plan.

Each has built, or is building a new stadium. Each has spent massively on star talent with Dan Carter at reigning Top 14 champions Racing 92 and Italian captain Sergio Parisse and rising French fly half Jules Plisson at Stade.

Both teams have been struggling this year however, with Racing 92 in seventh place -- Carter was jeered off the field at the weekend -- and Stade Francais in 12th.

No immediate details were given of how the grounds and teams would be used. Club presidents, Jacky Lorenzetti of Racing and Thomas Savare of Stade Francais, champions in 2015, were to speak later Monday at a press conference.

But the deal will have massive implications for the Top 14 and European club rugby.

Racing were slumbering in France's second division when real estate billionaire Lorenzetti took them over in 2006. Savare, who made his name in finance and credit cards, took over Stade Francais in 2011 when they were threatened with bankruptcy and relegation.

The clubs have spent hundreds of millions of euros on redeveloping and new players since 2010.

Stade Francais's Jean Bouin stadium was redeveloped in 2013 and reopened with capacity increased from 13,000 to 20,000.

Racing are building a new 220 million euro 32,000-seat stadium in the La Defense business district. It should have opened in January but this has been put back to the end of the year.
 

robbieando

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Wow, this came out of the blue. What about the rest of the Stade Francais omnisports club?
The omnisport and junior development setups for each club would stay as is (though I would guess in time the Rugby side for both will be renamed to mirror the merged club but keep the same footprint. The "merged" club will just have any talent directed to it.
 

chibimatty

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You know, it's interesting how they went after their major Paris rival. They could have bought Massy instead and had access to their rather unique multicultural development pool and audience, could have been a big expansion for the club. The colours are similar too. I wonder what the FFR thinks about reducing the professional rugby footprint in France's biggest city? It's not like both clubs were failing, au contraire, this has been a boon period in French rugby history for Paris rugby. I think Racing are possibly about to bugger that up. I can't see this becoming a combined super-club, just one less in the biggest city. It would be like the Lions and Bulls merging, it's not like all the Pretoria and Johburg fans would suddenly turn up in 100,000's for home games in Soweto. Unless they really believe that they can turn into the size of a soccer club, I can't see what the real the idea is behind this other than burying the competition for the sake of it. No more Paris rugby derby, that's a damn shame.
 

robbieando

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You know, it's interesting how they went after their major Paris rival. They could have bought Massy instead and had access to their rather unique multicultural development pool and audience, could have been a big expansion for the club. The colours are similar too.
Massy have been a recruiting pool of Racing for years anyway so merging with them wouldn't add to the playing list more than what they do already and other than the audience factor they wouldn't being in anything different. Best to keep them as is really.

I wonder what the FFR thinks about reducing the professional rugby footprint in France's biggest city? It's not like both clubs were failing, au contraire, this has been a boon period in French rugby history for Paris rugby.
I don't think the FFR would be happy at all, especially with the fact they will be losing the names of Racing and Stade for the game. The problem for Stade Francais became the family of their owner Thomas Savare deciding to stop their funding of Stade Francais and thus it was either merge or die. So they approached Racing with an offer they couldn't refuse.

I think Racing are possibly about to bugger that up. I can't see this becoming a combined super-club, just one less in the biggest city. It would be like the Lions and Bulls merging, it's not like all the Pretoria and Johburg fans would suddenly turn up in 100,000's for home games in Soweto. Unless they really believe that they can turn into the size of a soccer club, I can't see what the real the idea is behind this other than burying the competition for the sake of it. No more Paris rugby derby, that's a damn shame.
You can't blame the Racing owner Jacky Lorenzetti for accepting a gift horse in the mouth with what is basically the best chance to create a Paris based rival to both Toulon and Clemont. I doubt it will be as huge fan wise to start with but with the resources now available, success will build up and soon fans will fill Arena 92 pass what Racing would of.
 

chibimatty

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Interesting that they approached Racing and not another sporting organisation. I wonder if PSG ruled it out because of the failure of the RL side.
 

robbieando

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Interesting that they approached Racing and not another sporting organisation. I wonder if PSG ruled it out because of the failure of the RL side.
I doubt PSG would of ruled it in or out based upon the RL team from the mid 90's, different ownership and different sport from that time but certainly location wise surprising they weren't at least approached.

Maybe because this "merger" keeps part of Stade Francais in identity (mix of name/colours and continuation of junior teams) they thought it was better than going to a PSG and rebranding completely. Not surprising considering also as mergers are common in French Rugby (both Racing and Stade are big brothers of mergers that are quite recent as well), just not at this level between two top flight team however.
 

robbieando

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Reports coming out now that Thomas Savare wanted to merge Stade rather than sell it to a foreign investor. Reports that a Qatar consortium (not PSG) were interested, but he didn't want any part of it and once Jacky Lorenzetti got wind of those talks during the merger discussions he quickly knew it was best to agree as Racing wouldn't be able to compete with a foreign owned Stade Francais.

Messy stuff
 

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chibimatty

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The plot convolutes. Makes you wonder what would have happened if some other club owner besides Jacky Lorenzetti had got wind of it beforehand?
 
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Cunners10

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Now it looks like the Stade players are going on Strike and want racing 92 players to join in as well.
 

robbieando

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Now it looks like the Stade players are going on Strike and want racing 92 players to join in as well.
That could be interesting as if they miss three games in a row because of a strike its an automatic regelation to Division 2 which would throw it into chaos. Racing players were in the dark as much as the Stade players so I wouldn't be surprised if they joined the Stade players and saw them both striking.
 

chibimatty

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Racing 92 scrap merger with Stade Francais

Paris (AFP) – A controversial merger between French clubs Racing 92 and Stade Francais that sparked outrage from top international players, fans and officials has been scrapped, Racing 92 president Jacky Lorenzetti said Sunday.

Billionaire businessman Lorenzetti and Stade Francais counterpart Thomas Savare announced the plan for the merger of the two Top 14 Paris region rivals on Monday, triggering anger from the city administration, rugby officials and their own players who said they had not been consulted.

Racing 92 and Stade Francais, winners of the last two Top 14 titles, are two of the most formidable clubs in the French championship and the merger from next season came as a lightning bolt for European rugby.

Elite stars feared for their careers following the announcement of the bombshell plan that entailed a loss of half the playing staff of the combined clubs.

Opposition was so strong and came from so many quarters that Lorenzetti said he and Savare had been forced to rethink the deal.

“I renounce the plan for a rapprochement with Stade Francais, in agreement with Thomas Savare the merger will not take place,” said Lorenzetti in a statement.

“I heard and understood the strong reservations expressed in response to this project.

“In any case, the social, political, cultural, human, and sporting conditions were not in place. Perhaps we had the right plan too soon, only the future will tell.”

Stade Francais fans launched protests while players called a strike, refusing to train or play against Castres on Saturday, resulting in the match being postponed while Racing’s Saturday game against Montpellier was also called off.

The French Rugby Federation was openly hostile to the merger, saying in a statement it was “shocked to learn via the media” that France would lose one of its most historic rugby clubs.

Lorenzetti admitted that he had failed to do the groundwork in explaining his plan.

“I did not appreciate to what extent it was a top priority to explain and share my vision and to present the details of the plan even among the Racing 92 staff,” he said.

Savare said it would make “no sense” to go ahead with the merger given the strength of the opposition to it.

But he was unrepentant about the project itself, saying the merger of the two clubs was the correct path to take and one “fiercely shared” by him and Lorenzetti.

“We are convinced, both of us, that it is the right thing to do,” he said.

Racing and Stade Francais were among the first clubs created when rugby union was introduced to France in the 19th century. Racing won the first championship final against Stade in 1892. Stade got their revenge the following year

Racing were languishing in France’s second division when Lorenzetti bought them in 2006. Savare took over Stade Francais in 2011 when they were threatened with bankruptcy and relegation.

Both clubs have spent hundreds of millions of euros on redeveloping and acquiring new players since 2010.

Stade Francais’s Jean Bouin stadium, owned by the city of Paris, was redeveloped in 2013 and reopened with capacity increased from 13,000 to 20,000.

Racing are building a new 220 million-euro 32,000-seat stadium in the La Defense business district. It should have opened in January but this has been put back to the end of the year.
 
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robbieando

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Happy from a personal point of view that Racing will continue in their current form having been to their ground a few times.

Problem for Stade now is that while they continue Thomas Savare clearly can't continue as the owner and has given himself a deadline of 3 months to sell the club to recover the clubs debts, otherwise he'll self relegate the team to the Amateur lower divisions.
 

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