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Martyn Sadler and Andy Wilson hint at behind the scenes restructure of Super League

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The problem is whether the structure of the game is right for the sport itself. Clearly the way SL was born, marketed and funded only supports that singular competition to any valuable degree and that competition has effectively dragged the carcass of it's parents behind it for 16 years.

 

Either you bury the dead and risk being a 10-16 team game in the UK or try and address how much is worth saving. I believe this has to lean towards salvaging the game at other levels other than the current Super League. Being so heavily reliant on Sky is extremely unhealthy and clearly a new structure can at least try and refresh interest in the sport.

 

SL just isn't selling any more.

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The problem is whether the structure of the game is right for the sport itself. Clearly the way SL was born, marketed and funded only supports that singular competition to any valuable degree and that competition has effectively dragged the carcass of it's parents behind it for 16 years.

 

Either you bury the dead and risk being a 10-16 team game in the UK or try and address how much is worth saving. I believe this has to lean towards salvaging the game at other levels other than the current Super League. Being so heavily reliant on Sky is extremely unhealthy and clearly a new structure can at least try and refresh interest in the sport.

Interesting points. One good point IMHO against reducing SL is currently we see clubs like Cas and HKR with crowds of over 7,000 and the potential for more if they had the grounds. That has to be worth salvaging but I don't see how demotion to a second tier of any description would salvage either.

How you salvage clubs who have effectively given up and gone DR I don't know either, so maybe there's as you say about 16 worth salvaging. How things can be structured such that they could all manage the same salary cap of what £1,000,000ish again I dunno.

What you put below 16 clubs is also a massive question, but IMHO not a recreation of the past please.

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I thought you were the founding patron and CEO of the "I support Wigan and we're alright Jack because we have money" clique.

Hardly

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The problem is whether the structure of the game is right for the sport itself. Clearly the way SL was born, marketed and funded only supports that singular competition to any valuable degree and that competition has effectively dragged the carcass of it's parents behind it for 16 years.

 

Either you bury the dead and risk being a 10-16 team game in the UK or try and address how much is worth saving. I believe this has to lean towards salvaging the game at other levels other than the current Super League. Being so heavily reliant on Sky is extremely unhealthy and clearly a new structure can at least try and refresh interest in the sport.

 

SL just isn't selling any more.

 

The problem is that the game can support, at most, ten full-time clubs in the north. We need a product at this level to sell to broadcasters to receive the income needed to enable our leading players to make a living out of the game. Beneath that there is going to be the traditional part-time football that the game has always been used to. There is no reason that this can not be a decent standard but, as it isn't going to attract massive TV money, it isn't going to be able to afford to be full-time. The problem, as we've seen, is that there is no easy way of promoting and relegating clubs between professional and semi-professional competitions.

Below that, the current Championship One seems to be a very vibrant competition, albeit at a lower level. Assuming that the clubs are sustainable at that level, with the sort of income gates of a few hundred provide, this level seems to have an expanding and healthy future.

The success of Championship One, and the emerging southern league at tier three, do raise a point about using the revenue from screening Super League to share with lower levels of the game. For a start should we be taking broadcasting money away from our flagship competition at a time when, in its current form, it is struggling to fund itself ? Secondly, if we are going to divert elite funding, why just give it to Championship clubs? Why not share it with Championship One and Southern Conference clubs (ie the likely source of new professional clubs)?

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The problem is that the game can support, at most, ten full-time clubs in the north. We need a product at this level to sell to broadcasters to receive the income needed to enable our leading players to make a living out of the game. Beneath that there is going to be the traditional part-time football that the game has always been used to. There is no reason that this can not be a decent standard but, as it isn't going to attract massive TV money, it isn't going to be able to afford to be full-time. The problem, as we've seen, is that there is no easy way of promoting and relegating clubs between professional and semi-professional competitions.

Below that, the current Championship One seems to be a very vibrant competition, albeit at a lower level. Assuming that the clubs are sustainable at that level, with the sort of income gates of a few hundred provide, this level seems to have an expanding and healthy future.

The success of Championship One, and the emerging southern league at tier three, do raise a point about using the revenue from screening Super League to share with lower levels of the game. For a start should we be taking broadcasting money away from our flagship competition at a time when, in its current form, it is struggling to fund itself ? Secondly, if we are going to divert elite funding, why just give it to Championship clubs? Why not share it with Championship One and Southern Conference clubs (ie the likely source of new professional clubs)?

Interesting.

the concensus we seem to have got to backed by Mr. Sadler in League Express today is the number of teams we can afford in Superleague is dependant on where we set the salary cap. make it £2,000,000 and probably we can afford only ten clubs, make it £1,000,000 and probably that number would be around sixteen.

There's no indication at all money would be shared with championship clubs. Why would any SL side forgo hundreds of thousands to support their near neighbour who is also their rival.

But the idea of backing a tier below SL that gives a nationwide spread of independant clubs from London to Oldham, Gloucester to Gateshead, Hemel to Rochdale and Doncaster to wherever may well be affordable and more beneficial to the game - if those clubs have as their stated aim a desire to promote junior RL in their areas (rather than feed off SL clubs junior systems)

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1. I've seen that again and again, but never reasoned out. Do these players get Rugby Union or NRL level salaries whilst their team mates get ordinary money? Would they be resented? Who would these players be?? Does Tomkins and other top stars refuse a move to a bigger stage to earn the same money staying in Superleague? The assumption is that they go only for the money and will therefore stay for the same money? Will they? Don't they also have ambition for stardom, the International stage and travel? Which clubs can and will afford heavily overpaid top players and which clubs can't/won't? Did Leeds and Wigan pre-1996 actually have all the marquee players because they could outspend the rest? Will the games top 10 stars all be happy to do this? Will top stars sign for a bottom SL club because that club is the only one with a "marquee" place open?

 

Examples of the marquee player exemption are pretty straight forward. 

 

Club W could have a star player on their books who is tempted by the riches on offer in RU/ NRL, club can register said player as their exemption with the RFL and pay him whatever they want. Said player might actually want to stay with club X but the imperative to earn sufficient money to guarantee a comfortable life post RL might over-ride this.

 

Club X could be looking to attract a block busting international name from RU to raise the profile and performance of the club (and sport). Said club can afford the outlay required but given the need to match the combined club and country salaries earned by England international RU players, they could not sign him and keep within the existing cap. Therefore they register him with the RFL as their marquee player.

 

Club Y are interested in bringing back to England from the NRL an England qualified player to build their team around over the next few seasons. Said player has very strong family roots in the county in which club Z is located and would like to come back home. Club Z can afford to pay said player an amount that matches his NRL salary but to do so would put them way over the cap. A marquee exemption would have allowed them to sign this player. 

 

Club Z has been going through a couple of years of transition off field and on field are in desperate need of a half back to bring back the old style flair and pazzazz that has gone from the style of play. Things are flagging a bit and fans are crying out for a big name signing to turn the situation around. As we know top draw half backs are rare things these days and the best are in the NRL. Between them, the chairman and the coach decide that the only suitable player out there, guaranteed to put bums on shiny new seats and bring back the entertainment,  is a former Kiwi captain. Only problem is this player earns a fortune in the NRL and club Z just cannot match that and stay onside with the SL cap. Solution is to sign him as club Z's marquee player. 

 

I for one would be very happy to see Sam Tomkins, Chris Ashton, Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall all playing in Super League and as things stand we won't without some major changes.

 

It is up to clubs to work out their internal pay scales and deal with the issues of top stars earning more than others, but I would think any player would expect a player like Tomkins or Marshall to be earning the very top. Of course not every club will feel the need for a marquee player or be able to afford one, but why should the likes of Wigan, Saints, Salford or Leeds be prevented from doing so just because Cas haven't got the money?

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I see Ian Leneghan has come out and said he is firmly against raising the salary cap, using the phrase "why would I want to pay more than I already am ?".

Very astute fellows him and that Mr Hetherington, they can see what will keep their clubs at the top both on the field and financially and will exert influence to keep it that way.

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The only issue with this marquee player thing is, if you take the immediate situation at Warrington, the NRL chased player is Mike Cooper and the RU chased player is Ryan Atkins. Do they both get the exemption, are they both marquee?

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The only issue with this marquee player thing is, if you take the immediate situation at Warrington, the NRL chased player is Mike Cooper and the RU chased player is Ryan Atkins. Do they both get the exemption, are they both marquee?

 

I wouldn't consider either of them marquee.  If Atkins wants to go to union and get cold then so be it, if Mike Cooper wants to play in the NRL then so be it.  Personally I think both would be better staying where they are, on good salaries, in a good side that has been developing a habit of winning trophies.

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I wouldn't consider either of them marquee.  If Atkins wants to go to union and get cold then so be it, if Mike Cooper wants to play in the NRL then so be it.  Personally I think both would be better staying where they are, on good salaries, in a good side that has been developing a habit of winning trophies.

It's fair to say one is rumour and who knows how strong, however the point still stands. And if it's ok for Atkins and Cooper to move on but a marquee player might just bump up his salary then that's already causing a rift.

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3700 at Fev today. I think we should be part of the SL clique. Bearing in mind the absolute obsession on here of demographics what right have we to pull in such a good crowd for second rate RL?

 

Nobody seems to have picked up on that one Terry.

Great game and terrific atmosphere.

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3700 at Fev today. I think we should be part of the SL clique. Bearing in mind the absolute obsession on here of demographics what right have we to pull in such a good crowd for second rate RL?

 

 

it's not like that though.   

 

1. its not second rate,RL, its second tier....at present

 

2. obsession with demographics?   Pretty important stuff as demographics are about the population of a region and the culture of the people there. I think you might be thinking of attendances?

 

3. No cliques on here. True there are those who think the RFL are doing a good job overall, and there are those think they are not..but that's about all they agree in.

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I see Ian Leneghan has come out and said he is firmly against raising the salary cap, using the phrase "why would I want to pay more than I already am ?".

Very astute fellows him and that Mr Hetherington, they can see what will keep their clubs at the top both on the field and financially and will exert influence to keep it that way.

Of course it's very "convenient" for them to not back a rise in salaries, but it's only fair to accuse them of self interest if you can justify why a rise in the salary cap will be good for the game?

Adding 20% on to salary cap spends could be justified if it stopped (let alone reversed) the drift of players to NRL/RU.

How will it do that?

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It's fair to say one is rumour and who knows how strong, however the point still stands. And if it's ok for Atkins and Cooper to move on but a marquee player might just bump up his salary then that's already causing a rift.

 

I don't disagree.  I don't like the idea of marquee players at all.

 

I'll tell you what I do like though, all players being paid from a central pot and on the books of the RFL, with PAYE in place and the governing body having full sight and control of the salary cap and also there to help prevent the temporary circumstances that we're seeing at Leigh at the moment.

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3700 at Fev today. What right have we to pull in such a good crowd for second rate RL?

Widnes pulled in some great crowds for second rate RL. They got plenty of 3,000 plus attendances, probably because the fans saw the club was going places.

You'll need over twice that and more in Superleague.

The cliques are "Fantasy RL" where the small clubs will all grow through sheer hard work to be superleague clubs aided by SKY spending millions on our second tier, whilst we have "Reality RL" where the facts are faced.

And the fact is mr. Nahaboo is going to try to make you a Superleague club with his money, so by all means join us.....

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If it's ok for Atkins and Cooper to move on but a marquee player might just bump up his salary then that's already causing a rift.

These are practical examples of this "Marquee" thing. Hasn't Atkins got close to full international level and isn't coper one of the young guns? Are they marquee players now and should their salary be doubled or trebled to keep them. What about the lads who line up with Atkins and Cooper?

Ratchford and Harrison to be content with watching their team mates get double money? Should they then look to their agent to find them deals to force the marquee money?

If these aren't marquee players who is?? Will Tomkins stay for double money/ Will Burgess come back if Bradford match his money in the NRL?

Are big stars like Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield marquee players like sam Tomkins?? How old are they? Do we just reward the best youngsters and the old loyal servants will have to go on a course so they can get a job when they retire?

Alex Walmsley next for the NRL? Should saints make him their biggest paid player by a mile? Should we have doubled Chev Walker and lee Smiths money to keep them in Superleague when they left for Union?

How does the player drain affect crowds? By paying Sam £hundreds of thousands to stay what level of attendance will therefore be protected at Wigan? Will sam leaving shave thousands off the gate?

When James Graham left saints how much did that put down their crowds?

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I don't disagree.  I don't like the idea of marquee players at all.

 

I'll tell you what I do like though, all players being paid from a central pot and on the books of the RFL, with PAYE in place and the governing body having full sight and control of the salary cap and also there to help prevent the temporary circumstances that we're seeing at Leigh at the moment.

 

 

Interesting. Playing devils; advocate though, isn't this just transferring the  problem from clubs to the RFL. Have I misunderstood? Where will the RFL get the wages from? Individual clubs pay the gate money and other income to the RFL? What if a club defaults on it payments? 

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Err, pass.

general question for all, but if you want your own, when Burgess left for Aistralia did you detect people deciding not to follow Bradford any more because of it?

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Interesting. Playing devils; advocate though, isn't this just transferring the problem from clubs to the RFL. Have I misunderstood? Where will the RFL get the wages from? Individual clubs pay the gate money and other income to the RFL? What if a club defaults on it payments?

That's what would happen clubs would default on payment to the RFL but fans would still expect them to pay the players. Within 1 season the RFL would go bankrupt.

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general question for all, but if you want your own, when Burgess left for Aistralia did you detect people deciding not to follow Bradford any more because of it?

Our decline into oblivion is entirely blamed on Iestyn Harris on these shores and Russell Crowe on others. Once Sam (see I can do it too; Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam) signed for Souths he decided not to follow Bradford and just pottered around the pitch.

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Interesting. Playing devils; advocate though, isn't this just transferring the  problem from clubs to the RFL. Have I misunderstood? Where will the RFL get the wages from? Individual clubs pay the gate money and other income to the RFL? What if a club defaults on it payments? 

 

I'm the first to admit that I haven't thought it through.  However I never fail to be disgusted at clubs "in trouble" failing to pay the inland revenue.  

 

The players would be employed by the RFL, and their salaries retained by the RFL from the Sky and any other central sponsorship money.  Where there's a deficit, the club coughs up on a monthly basis in time to pay the player.  I think that it would give the RFL a true early warning system of financial mismanagement/trouble and potentially time to provide some support for the club, rather than  be reactive as now.  It would also make the salary cap believable in a stroke.

 

I'd also like the RFL to licence merchandise for each club/competition, and sign up kit manufacturers for entire competitions and produce ranges of clothing etc that people truely want to have.  In addition they should define target postcodes for each and every club and support them in marketing the game in these areas as part of a fully integrated marketing, participation and community program.  Again I can't claim to have thought this through either.  

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I see Ian Leneghan has come out and said he is firmly against raising the salary cap, using the phrase "why would I want to pay more than I already am ?".

Very astute fellows him and that Mr Hetherington, they can see what will keep their clubs at the top both on the field and financially and will exert influence to keep it that way.

 

That is absolutely correct and, as the operators of Leeds andf Wigan respectively, that is as it should be. The problem is, from my point of view, that this narrow focus of what's best for my team  and peripherally what's best for SL, is too narrow a focus and the RFL, with hopefully the mandate of looking after the whole game, from pub team to SL, should be in absolute charge and make decisions in the best interests of RL and not just a couple of clubs or, indeed, SL.

 

The reality however is that because SL have managed to get the Sky money directly from Sky and bypass the RFL the RFL is now a toothless paper tiger and so SL calls the shots and they very definitely do NOT operate in the best interests of the game as a whole.

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Of course it's very "convenient" for them to not back a rise in salaries, but it's only fair to accuse them of self interest if you can justify why a rise in the salary cap will be good for the game?

Adding 20% on to salary cap spends could be justified if it stopped (let alone reversed) the drift of players to NRL/RU.

How will it do that?

Perhaps they have a view that raising the salary cap won't be good for the game in the UK, and not just from a financial perspective ?

Put it this way, when the cap remains low then clubs can not buy a team and they must develop and bring through quality juniors who can make the grade in the 1st team while being on comparatively low wages in the infancy of their careers. Which two clubs are head and shoulders above the rest in producing quality young players and bringing them through the ranks into their 1st team ?

A low cap means the clubs who do that are likely to be the most successful while also keeping costs down. Perhaps other clubs should take the hint and take their junior development more seriously then, instead of paying a journeyman £80k-£100k a season, they could have a homegrown player on half of that sum initially. I believe thats where they're coming from and actually saying that the cap is high enough if you get your structure right and use it wisely.

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