BARLA attempted to set up a Winter Conference but I don't think there was enough interest/uptake. There's definately not enough time to set up an alternative for this Winter and get it right, however if they'd plan a competition for to start say 2014/15 I'm sure that's enough time to get a proper proposal in place and the structure/administration right for those clubs who feel Winter is best for them
That's right Spidey, a couple of years ago there was an attempt to introduce a top level alternative to those ten or so conference teams who weren't happy with the summer switch, but I agree with you this plan was too rushed and really the only teams that looked to it were the top end of Pennine ARL and CMS Yorkshire ARL.
Also with the restrictive RFL Community Board policies preventing any new leagues being set up - and that's at any age group - a traditional alternative would have to come from an existing league and I think that even then, there would be massive opposition and threats from that body directed towards any proposed conception. But as Lord Charles has so rightly indicated, if you're not part of the RFL Community Board, the threats and protestation would count for nothing.
Again I think that you're spot on with the timing Spidey, if planning/consultation with clubs was to begin now for a September 2014, then I believe that a solid, safe, suitable structure would be put in place for that starting time. Add to this any possible sponsorship/funding and then clubs would have time to discuss the facts and figures to make their own minds up as to whether it would be in their benefit, before making their own decision on their future. If BARLA have any desire to impact once again, then planning should be underway at this moment.
Maybe administrators should look at the success of the Cumbria model that is underway and emulate what is happening there. Yes it's not being played as a traditional competition but it is being played when the players and clubs want it to be played as they were all part of the consultation for the March - September transition that took place in West Cumbria a couple of years ago. Unlike just bowing to the recommendations from their management as happened with the NCL vote, they actually had a say in their future and now the game in that particular part of the world, is taking big steps forward.
What's to stop similar leagues/divisions being introduced in the NWC and Yorkshire and with the similar amount of backing from BARLA which has led to the success in Cumbria. Maybe it could be an idea to start off with a more regionalised competition for the moment, through the correct consultation with clubs this could be discovered. Until that takes place then everyone's playing a guessing game, one which was definitely guessed wrongly by the RFL with summer rugby. The evidence is in the results.
And now the RFL are aiming the dual registration gun at their foot which in my mind would not go down a treat with the strong amateur ethos a large percentage of the game enjoys at present. This is just one of many future concepts to come from the RFL as they continue to slowly professionalise the top end of the amateur game for their own benefit, which I don't suppose makes many friends for the RFL as they blatently abuse and squeeze the life out of the amateur game.
But as I've said before on this thread, the summer/winter issue is only part of why we see the open age in such disarray and the problems are deep rooted. The games policy makers should take a look at what is happening at the early part of a player's time in our game and have a re-think on realisation of the damaged caused by their selfish persuit of talent.
For a large percentage of amateur under 15/16 games to be disrupted in order to pacify the professional games academies/scholarships is simply unacceptable. The problem has always been there at the end of the amateur season when there was a brief "crossover period" of around a month. So just what were the RFL thinking when they actually fixtured the amateur season around the professional academies, as the result has been catastrophic.
I believe that it's only a matter of time before the amateur game certainly at these age groups 15's through to 18's will return to a more traditional season than it enjoys now. The RFL spin doctors will more than likely be working overtime to produce the exit strategy of all exit strategies in order to back track and not admit that they were wrong in dragging the game to summer just to prop up the ailing professional game.
I strongly believe that once the aspects of youth/junior are in more settled times, then open age amateur rugby league will benefit greatly with the more settled environment.
Edited by Nev V Dawn, 29 July 2013 - 05:51 AM.