Friday 13 December 2019

'He comes out with outrageous comments' - Bernard Jackman dismisses talk of Toulon moving to the Aviva Premiership

Bernard Jackman
Bernard Jackman

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has launched an audacious bid to see his three-time European champions join the Aviva Premiership but Bernard Jackman doesn't see it happening.

A Premiership Rugby spokesman confirmed that a letter was received via email from the French club on Wednesday night.

Multi-millionaire comic book publisher Boudjellal's move looks highly unlikely to succeed, although the possibility of England's Premiership clubs discussing it should not be ruled out.

Boudjellal has had an ongoing and often bitter battle with organisers of the Top 14 - France's premier domestic competition - about matters such as the 10million euro (£7.7million) salary cap, and most recently, new rules that were introduced last summer regarding player bonus payments now being part of the cap if they amount to more than 10 per cent of a player's salary.

Toulon's expensively-assembled squad is packed with world stars like Paul O'Connell, Bryan Habana, Matt Giteau, Ma'a Nonu, Leigh Halfpenny, Quade Cooper, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Duane Vermeulen.

And England World Cup winner Ben Kay believes Boudjellal's initiative might be aimed at "ruffling a few feathers" to get what he wants in France.

Outspoken Toulon chief Boudjellal told French newspaper L'Equipe that his club's Premiership presence would offer "a huge added value," adding: "I wrote for a contact. If this is not possible the next season, maybe the one after that.

"For them (the English), besides a big first, it would be a huge added value. And I'm serious in my approach."

A Premiership Rugby spokesman told Press Association Sport: "It is a bit early for us to make a formal response, but we will be doing so in due course.

"It does show the appeal of Premiership rugby."

Asked about the revelations on Game On on 2Fm this evening, Grenoble head coach Bernard Jackman said: "He's been incredibly successful, not many people like the way he has gone about his business, there is not much class to it.

"He comes out with outrageous comments pretty much every time he meets a journalist. I wouldn't take too much heed of it.

"He feels he's the victim and everybody's anti-him and anti-Toulon but his demands are unrealistic.

"It's just talk, it's not gonna happen."

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