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RFL Chairman responds to criticism


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#1 League Express

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 03:53 PM

RFL Chairman Brian Barwick has responded to criticism of the RFL in Rugby League Express editor Martyn Sadler's 'Talking Rugby League' column in this week's edition of the weekly newspaper.

Sadler criticised the RFL's inability to raise the profile of Rugby League in the national media, while making irrelevant changes to league structures, and expressed disappointment that Barwick had failed to have a noticeable impact since his appointment in February.

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#2 MrPosh

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:07 PM

Agree with so much of what Barwick says, but also a lot of the original criticism from Sadler. I don't think they're that far apart.

But it is this phrase I take issue with "But ultimately the final position has to be robust, sensible and commercially attractive from top to bottom."

Commercially attractive it may be (but I doubt any more than anything else we do), but it certainly isn't robust or sensible.

Flimsy and barmy might be a better way of describing these new proposals.
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#3 Keith T

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:46 PM

I believe that anyone could have written that statement as it doesn't tell us very much. Imbalance in some games because of lack of resources, etc, - a bit like Manchester United 8 - Arsenal 2, but they don't talk of restructuring the Football Premiership. Mr Barwick is saying that he has been to many matches including the Wheelchair World Cup and how he enjoyed them and who wouldn't expect the Chairman of an organisation to state that everyone at Red Hall is working hard to bring about better results.

The things people want to hear from him are the results of this hard work and just not looking for change for change sake or allowing SLE to dictate to the rest of the game. The game needs the RFL to govern not pander to SL club Chairmen and Executives all the time.

I would have liked to hear from Mr Barwick how the proposed 2 x 12, 3 x 8 benefits clubs from 5th to 12th in the new proposed SL2 especially when the split to 3 x 8's come about. In the third group of 8, which is the 5th to 12th positions of SL2, does a team that finished behind at least four other clubs in the SL2 become SL2 Champions after the 7 extra games, for instance? (The top four being in the second group of 8 with 4 SL clubs)

Maybe if Mr Barwick gave more answers then people would have a better idea of where the game is going but at the moment it just seems like make it up as you go along.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#4 JohnM

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 08:08 PM

His statement was a gentle ripost to those who continue to attack the RFL, its leadership, its policies, its actions and the brand of tea bag it uses. I thought it a measured response to the naysayers.

 

It isn't really necessary to explain anything as it position is clearly stated on the RFL web site. 

 

“Our task now is to drill down into the details of a range of issues such as minimum standards, financial distributions and the various mechanics around promotion and relegation.”

 

See http://www.therfl.co...gue-to-become-a

 

It may not have the detail you want as its not all been specified and agreed yet. Iooks like the RFL has fallen into the trap of trying to keep people informed of what is going on and getting criticised for it.



#5 Dave T

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 08:15 PM

His statement was a gentle ripost to those who continue to attack the RFL, its leadership, its policies, its actions and the brand of tea bag it uses. I thought it a measured response to the naysayers.

It isn't really necessary to explain anything as it position is clearly stated on the RFL web site.

“Our task now is to drill down into the details of a range of issues such as minimum standards, financial distributions and the various mechanics around promotion and relegation.”

See http://www.therfl.co...gue-to-become-a

It may not have the detail you want as its not all been specified and agreed yet. Iooks like the RFL has fallen into the trap of trying to keep people informed of what is going on and getting criticised for it.

i agree. He isnt the CEO so he isnt even the right person to go into the detail.

I also agree that whilst the RFL have gone with an open and honest approach and trying to keep fans engaged, this is backfiring.

#6 Pottsy

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:03 PM

Barwick's response, although articulate and reasonably compelling, doesn't really tell you anything and, if you read Martyn's piece again, it doesn't really do anything to allay any of the fears raised.

I share Martyn's view that the game faces many problems (eg, lack of funds, profile and viable top flight clubs) but, like Martyn, I really don't see how the latest 'wacky' proposals do anything to address these issues. In fact, I believe they will create more problems than they would solve.

Even though my club would be one of those whose place may have been in jeopardy, I'm still amazed that Ken Davy's much more straightforward proposal of two 10-team leagues was not given serious consideration.

#7 Keith T

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:26 PM

i agree. He isnt the CEO so he isnt even the right person to go into the detail.

I also agree that whilst the RFL have gone with an open and honest approach and trying to keep fans engaged, this is backfiring.


Then IMHO if he isn't the right person to go in to detail then he should be telling someone else to make the statement, maybe Mr Rimmer or Mr Wood. Again, IMHO, Barwick has not allayed any fears that people have been talking about with the new system of re-structuring and as I said that statement could have been written by any fan not the Executive Chairman of the RFL.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#8 Just to be clear

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 12:10 AM

Just to be depressed, An RFL figure attacked for trying to do their job and promote the game. Again.

It is an open letter, not a strategy document.

He is a non-executive chairman, not an officer.

It is his opinion and response to the negativity that is damaging the sport's reputation.

The fact that no one can accept his letter for what it is, with people instead condemning him for things he has not said just illustrates how big this problem. The response from journalists resorting to ridicule and acting like they should be beyond question is the most arrogant and depressing thing. I want Barwick and Wood looking for sponsors and building up the game, not constantly having to fight the constant tide of unconstructiuve attacks that make their job more difficult.

Tony Hannan said in response that "if you are a journalist & you 'talk it up' then you ain't no journalist. You're a spin doctor. Aim for the truth" If he thinks that the truth can never be positive then he ain't no journalist either. If he thinks knocking something down you disagree with is journalism and not spin doctoring or yourself then he ain't no journalist.

(And just how boring must Tony Hannan's match reports be that he could never praise a game or a player because that not be journalism but spin doctoring. Just a load of technical statements saying someone passed, kicked, or tackled, with no description of how good or exciting any of them were.)

The biggest problem with rugby league reporting is that the line between journlism and editorial is blurred to the point of almost non-existance. Whatever someone thinks of, say, the 2x12 3x8 proposal is not journalism, it is opinion. Journalism is saying what it is. Journalism is investigating why it is being implemented, by whom, on what basis, what support it gets, how will is be judged, what analysis has been done for and against it. Journalism is saying what should be done instead on a factually researched basis. Saying "this is not good", saying "I think we should do this" is not journalism.

Just to be clear, Sadler's editorials are by definition meant to be opinion and not journalism, but for that reason they are also no more relevant to the overall debate than anything posted on this site. And just as he gets to use his prominent position to express his personal opinion, then Barwick has every entitlement to respond. And in a perfect world he could do so with the likes of Chris Irvine mocking him for it, but such low expectations we have of the games biggest enemy it understandable he has to new find ways of further diminishing his own credibility.

#9 The Parksider

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 05:20 AM

The biggest problem with rugby league reporting is that the line between journlism and editorial is blurred to the point of almost non-existance. Whatever someone thinks of, say, the 2x12 3x8 proposal is not journalism, it is opinion. Journalism is saying what it is. Journalism is investigating why it is being implemented, by whom, on what basis, what support it gets, how will is be judged, what analysis has been done for and against it. Journalism is saying what should be done instead on a factually researched basis. Saying "this is not good", saying "I think we should do this" is not journalism.

 

Brilliant stuff.

 

I await people who have access to those in charge finding out why 2x12 = 3x8 is apparently favoured by the majority.

 

Favoured by people who run the game, run the clubs and know the finances and can see the problems now and likely if we continue as we are.

 

Are all our journos just tapping out "It's barmy" opinion pieces or are they sidling up to chairmen, CEO's, coaches, RFL officials and asking probing questions?



#10 Southstander13

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 07:19 AM

Just to be depressed, An RFL figure attacked for trying to do their job and promote the game. Again.

It is an open letter, not a strategy document.

He is a non-executive chairman, not an officer.

It is his opinion and response to the negativity that is damaging the sport's reputation.

The fact that no one can accept his letter for what it is, with people instead condemning him for things he has not said just illustrates how big this problem. The response from journalists resorting to ridicule and acting like they should be beyond question is the most arrogant and depressing thing. I want Barwick and Wood looking for sponsors and building up the game, not constantly having to fight the constant tide of unconstructiuve attacks that make their job more difficult.

Tony Hannan said in response that "if you are a journalist & you 'talk it up' then you ain't no journalist. You're a spin doctor. Aim for the truth" If he thinks that the truth can never be positive then he ain't no journalist either. If he thinks knocking something down you disagree with is journalism and not spin doctoring or yourself then he ain't no journalist.

(And just how boring must Tony Hannan's match reports be that he could never praise a game or a player because that not be journalism but spin doctoring. Just a load of technical statements saying someone passed, kicked, or tackled, with no description of how good or exciting any of them were.)

The biggest problem with rugby league reporting is that the line between journlism and editorial is blurred to the point of almost non-existance. Whatever someone thinks of, say, the 2x12 3x8 proposal is not journalism, it is opinion. Journalism is saying what it is. Journalism is investigating why it is being implemented, by whom, on what basis, what support it gets, how will is be judged, what analysis has been done for and against it. Journalism is saying what should be done instead on a factually researched basis. Saying "this is not good", saying "I think we should do this" is not journalism.

Just to be clear, Sadler's editorials are by definition meant to be opinion and not journalism, but for that reason they are also no more relevant to the overall debate than anything posted on this site. And just as he gets to use his prominent position to express his personal opinion, then Barwick has every entitlement to respond. And in a perfect world he could do so with the likes of Chris Irvine mocking him for it, but such low expectations we have of the games biggest enemy it understandable he has to new find ways of further diminishing his own credibility.

 

Great post!



#11 Dave T

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 07:23 AM

Then IMHO if he isn't the right person to go in to detail then he should be telling someone else to make the statement, maybe Mr Rimmer or Mr Wood. Again, IMHO, Barwick has not allayed any fears that people have been talking about with the new system of re-structuring and as I said that statement could have been written by any fan not the Executive Chairman of the RFL.

The RFL have been very open on this topic.
Lets not forget, this proposal will not go through without club support.
It looks like Barwick responded as Sadler brought him personally into the debate.

#12 gingerjon

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 07:32 AM

It's all summed up for me with this: "One thing’s for certain: talking the game down isn’t helpful."

 

And yet all of our journalists do it.

 

I was tempted to start a log of all the times a rugby league journo on twitter made a jawdroppingly and pointlessly negative comment about TGG but decided that for my sanity it was best not to.


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#13 Doghead

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 07:49 AM

His statement was a gentle ripost to those who continue to attack the RFL, its leadership, its policies, its actions and the brand of tea bag it uses. I thought it a measured response to the naysayers.

 

It isn't really necessary to explain anything as it position is clearly stated on the RFL web site. 

 

“Our task now is to drill down into the details of a range of issues such as minimum standards, financial distributions and the various mechanics around promotion and relegation.”

 

See http://www.therfl.co...gue-to-become-a

 

It may not have the detail you want as its not all been specified and agreed yet. Iooks like the RFL has fallen into the trap of trying to keep people informed of what is going on and getting criticised for it.

Excellent reply, you reading this Martyn.



#14 Doghead

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 07:51 AM

It's all summed up for me with this: "One thing’s for certain: talking the game down isn’t helpful."

 

And yet all of our journalists do it.

 

I was tempted to start a log of all the times a rugby league journo on twitter made a jawdroppingly and pointlessly negative comment about TGG but decided that for my sanity it was best not to.

Funny how these Journalists Dumb down on Skys back chat.



#15 Doghead

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 07:58 AM

Barwick's response, although articulate and reasonably compelling, doesn't really tell you anything and, if you read Martyn's piece again, it doesn't really do anything to allay any of the fears raised.

I share Martyn's view that the game faces many problems (eg, lack of funds, profile and viable top flight clubs) but, like Martyn, I really don't see how the latest 'wacky' proposals do anything to address these issues. In fact, I believe they will create more problems than they would solve.

Even though my club would be one of those whose place may have been in jeopardy, I'm still amazed that Ken Davy's much more straightforward proposal of two 10-team leagues was not given serious consideration.

I would love to think two 10 team leagues was the end result of this reconstruction, but its obvious there not enough money in the game at present.



#16 Johnoco

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 08:19 AM

I think Tony Hannan is a decent guy and a good writer. But where he goes wrong is in thinking that anyone who does enjoy something about RL that he doesn't is some sort of spin doctor or in the employ of Red Hall. It's like if you just enjoy RL without any sort of agenda, you just enjoy it, then you don't quite get the true picture and are a fool.
As for the rest, I feel more cheered up listening to Leonard Cohen.

#17 Pottsy

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:50 AM

It's all summed up for me with this: "One thing’s for certain: talking the game down isn’t helpful."

And yet all of our journalists do it.

I was tempted to start a log of all the times a rugby league journo on twitter made a jawdroppingly and pointlessly negative comment about TGG but decided that for my sanity it was best not to.


Using your chosen line of logic, should all political journalists toe the line and support the government's current 'austerity' measures, on the basis that 'talking it down isn't helpful?'

Personally, I'm glad we have journalists in life and in sport who are prepared to challenge and question rather than, as some of you are keen to advocate, a bunch of benign, RFL cheerleaders.

#18 GeordieSaint

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:57 AM

Using your chosen line of logic, should all political journalists toe the line and support the government's current 'austerity' measures, on the basis that 'talking it down isn't helpful?'

Personally, I'm glad we have journalists in life and in sport who are prepared to challenge and question rather than, as some of you are keen to advocate, a bunch of benign, RFL cheerleaders.

 

I agree to a certain extent but there must be balance (unless things are completely wrong!) and presently there isn't; it is all doom and gloom. I will openly criticise the RFL when required and defend/praise them when required. However, there seems to be very little of this balance in the media.

 

I know the game was created out of 'rebellion', but frankly I feel at times characters in our game simply rebel out of principle; that there is some god-given responsibility to constantly push back against the establishment.


Edited by GeordieSaint, 25 July 2013 - 10:05 AM.

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#19 Johnoco

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:01 AM

Using your chosen line of logic, should all political journalists toe the line and support the government's current 'austerity' measures, on the basis that 'talking it down isn't helpful?'

Personally, I'm glad we have journalists in life and in sport who are prepared to challenge and question rather than, as some of you are keen to advocate, a bunch of benign, RFL cheerleaders.

Do me a favour Pottsy, all they do is bloody moan and talk things down. Where is the balance?

#20 nadera78

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:04 AM

I'm caught between two stools here because I do find the majority of RL journalists to be horrendously negative, and it's been that way for a long time. But I'm also thoroughly depressed at the nonsense coming out of Red Hall in recent months. Sigh!


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