Stade Niçois will appeal against relegation after posting a financial loss

Club President Patrice Prévôt says the financial position of the club is stable with last season's loss due to high player bonus payments

Bruce Flockhart
Bruce Flockhart spent last season with Stade Niçois and has since signed a senior professional contract with Glasgow Warriors. Image: © Craig Watson -

SCOTTISH RUGBY’S French partnership club, Stade Niçois, plans to appeal against a proposed relegation for posting a financial loss last season.

The demotion was announced by the DNACG, the organisation that overseas financial affairs in French sport. It found that Stade Niçois had recorded a deficit of €99,000. The ruling states that the club, which gained promotion to the third tier Federale 1, will drop back to Federale 2 at the end of the season or may even fall into Federale 3 depending on the reasons for the shortfall.

Last season was the first in which Scottish Rugby linked up with Stade Nicois, using it as a development side for Academy Level players and aspiring coaches. Of the initial group, Dave Cherry is now with Edinburgh, Bruce Flockhart has signed for Glasgow warriors and Josh Henderson has a Scotland sevens contract, while Peter Murchie will become coach of the Ayr Super 6 franchise next month.

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Club president, Patrice Prévôt, has told French media that he is confident a solution can be found. “We certainly didn’t expect that,” he said of the sanction. “It may look as if the club is in financial difficulties but that isn’t the case.

“At the end of last season there was a shortfall which was due to bonus payments as a result of recording 24 wins and that caused an overspend. At that point it was around 3% of the budget, which is not a massive amount,” he added, pointing out that there are also guarantees from current partners and further sponsorships in the pipeline. The deficit was also disclosed at the club’s AGM.

“We provided letters of engagement but that failed to convince the DNACG, something that astonished us. We didn’t expect to be congratulated, but nor did we expect to be hit so hard”, added Prévôt.

A statement from the club stressed that there is no risk to the existence of Stade Niçois. And, although there was no specific mention of Scottish Rugby, the statement confirmed that all of the club’s partners have reiterated their support.

The punishment was part of a wider purge by the DNACG, with four other Federale 1 clubs and six in Federale 2 also being provisionally relegated. This is not unusual and it is fairly common for clubs to successfully appeal against such decisions once they are able to prove their financial stability. However, if the decision is upheld, it could have implications for the future relationship with Scottish Rugby.

Federale 1 is regionalised, and the club is currently joint second in its pool, on target to compete for promotion to the second level ProD2. Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson was quoted as saying on a visit to Nice earlier this year that he would consider increasing the level of investment in Stade Niçois should they reach the second tier.

The Scots currently plying their trade on the Mediterranean coast as part of the arrangement with BT Murrayfield are Hamish Bain, Cameron Hutchison, Archie Erskine, Charlie Capps and Nick McLellan, while Tyrone Holmes is in his second season at the club as a player/coach.

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About David Barnes 3912 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.