French side Toulon say they want to leave their domestic league to play in the English Premiership.

President Mourad Boudjellal sent an email to Premiership bosses proposing the move from the Top 14, which a spokesman said they would consider.

Boudjellal has made public his frustrations with the Top 14, related to the salary cap and bonus payments.


He told French newspaper L’Equipe: “If this is not possible the next season, maybe the one after that.”

He added: “For them [the English], besides a big first, it would be a huge added value. And I’m serious in my approach.”

The Cote d’Azur club have risen up the French leagues under Boudjellal’s reign to become multiple European champions.

Any switch would require the approval of the Rugby Football Union, the governing body for rugby union in England, which said it had not been contacted by Boudjellal, as well as the French Rugby Federation.

And given the complications of any move, informed observers of the game say it appears unlikely to happen.

Salary cap could be a problem

Top 14 clubs have a larger salary cap than those in England, at 10 million Euros (approximately £7.7m) compared to £5.1m.

That money has allowed French clubs to sign stars such as World Cup-winning All Blacks Dan Carter (Racing 92), Ma’a Nonu (Toulon) and Conrad Smith (Pau), plus South Africa’s 2007 world champion winger Bryan Habana (Toulon).

The likes of former England number 10 Jonny Wilkinson, Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton and New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams have played in the Top 14 in the past.

The 12 Premiership clubs will see their salary cap rise to £6.5m per club for 2016-17 and £7m for 2017-18.

Rugby union is familiar with cross-border competitions, with Italian clubs playing in the Pro12 league against Welsh, Irish and Scottish opposition, while the southern hemisphere Super Rugby tournament features teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, with teams from Argentina and Japan joining for the 2016 season, which starts in February.

Cooper set for Rio role

Toulon have agreed to release fly-half Quade Cooper for three rounds of the Sevens World Series as the Australian attempts to make his nation’s squad at the Rio Olympics.

He will compete in Sydney (6-7 February), Paris (14-15 May) and London (21-22 May).

“As a rugby player growing up you never think you’ll have the chance to play at an Olympics so I’ll be doing everything I can to make the squad,” said the 27-year-old, who has won 58 caps for the Wallabies.