..so if a more open minded attitude to the value of RL was taken maybe this nonsense is nothing other than scare mongering by those with little imagination, or more likely interest in taking the sport further domestically.
I think we agree that as a sport we have something of a habit of selling ourselves cheap. Even in the World Cup this is true. You can't get to see the Commonwealth Games for less than £15 but we've got tickets for the semi-final double header going for as little as £10 once people have got the discount. It's going to be a tough habit to break out of.
I think also most people agree that 'something' is not working in the professional/semi-professional game at the moment. However, it's hard to be certain whether (for e.g.) falling crowds are down to lack of interest or down to the fact that we're in the fifth year of economic uncertainty and crowds and demand for tickets has fallen in every sport in England, not just rugby league. Sponsorships for sport are also getting harder to obtain - whatever Chuckles Irvine scribbles in the Times about the lack of SL title sponsor being an outrage.
One of the key problems I have with 3x8 - and indeed the whole league restructure plan as put forward - is that it's called a whole game solution but in fact is anything but. It doesn't address any of the issues with the same names being at the top, and it ignores the player pathways underneath the championship. The connection to the amateur and community games isn't even covered. I do have other issues which relate to not really 'getting' what the teams in the 8-team division 2 will really be playing for, and also believing that it will be a cold day in hell before any team that starts in the 2nd twelve gets promotion to the 1st twelve for the next season. It feels like a gimmick in the same way club call feels like a gimmick.
So, who should control the game? The RFL obviously. But the RFL have not shown themselves to be secure guardians. They fudged licencing and have policed it poorly since. They have allowed themselves to be bullied by the clubs on academies and have made a complete horlicks of duel registration. Next season they want to do away with the Championship Cup - because it's too complicated for them to run a competition for a season when they don't know what 2015 will look like. The issue about 2015 being one entirely of their own making. And then they have allowed themselves to be bullied by BARLA and the NCL, and have failed to bring the community game together.
I don't agree with all of the tactics of the SL clubs but I can understand their frustration. I really don't want them to end up in control of the game. But from the outside looking in it seems that it's the lack of clear direction from the RFL that has led to this situation.