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League Express

RFL Chairman responds to criticism

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Great.

Anyway, back on topic (hopefully):

This weekend showcased some of the things that are great about rugby league as well as bringing into focus some of the significant challenges the sport currently faces.

It's the job of Chris Irvine et al to report and comment on these things fairly, not to promote, sugarcoat or redact. Frankly, I want media coverage that's fair and constructive rather than simply telling me what I want to hear.

If the game wants positive coverage it needs to work harder to create positive stories (a good start would be allow the focus to shift onto what happens on the pitch rather than what happens in offices); if we want the wider media to treat rugby league like a major sport then we need to get off our a***es and support the game's showcase events.

It's easy to preach positivity to the converted on a web forum but how many people who have posted on this topic actually went to one of the semi finals this weekend?

It is not the job of journalists to sugar coat, no, but we all see the press releases from the clubs and the RFL. A mixture of good and bad news, but only the negative stories get picked up on by the papers. That gives an equally unrealistic slant on the game to the reader.

 

It is even easier for a hack to preach negativity than positivity, because you can defend yourself by claiming you're "telling it like it is" and claiming that anyone who disagrees "can't handle the truth".

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I think when we act small time we get treated small time.

 

Our Cup Final and Grand Final usually get good coverage, the bigger problem is that these are generally the only main events that we provide on a regular basis. Magic Weekend is probably next and the general media have treated this ok I have found, but RL fans and media have often been found talking it down.

 

Whatever we think of Rugby Union coverage in this country, they probable have around 30 events per year which have well over 50k - up to 80k. It is massive compared to what we offer.

 

This year we need to show the media that we are worthy of coverage, and we can do that by filling Wembley for the Cup Final, Old Trafford for the Grand Final, and then filling the grounds for the major events at the World Cup.

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Just to be clear, you should because the idea you can play 2 games in 3 hours is so bizarre I would like to see you sincerely defend it. Never mind that we the clock is stopped after various incidents during a match, you are completely ignoring half time, which is around 15 minutes for a televised match.

Even when Sky shows a match without any build up and goes off air shortly after the final hooter it still takes up two hours. Super League programming accounts for around 25 hours of their weekly schedules, I cannot understand why you are resorting to weird contortions to claim they only show 3 hours.

Sky themselves say that the average Premier League viewer only watches 30 matches per season. That is less than one per week. Showing an extra Super League match will not widen the audience for the sport, not even in the bizarre world where games truly do finish 80 minutes after kick off.

 

 

Just to be clear, I'm in no state to reply properly to your long post right now, but I will pop back in at a better time tomorrow and go through it just as I should have last time.

 

I hope that's clear.

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If you want to see genuine mindless negativity visit Loverugbyleague.com's Facebook page and have a look at the 'debate' on what Super League should be called. There's not a positive or vaguely constructive post in sight.

We can try to make scapegoats out of the dwindling band of journalists who cover our sport in the national press but, compared to large numbers of the game's 'supporters', Irvine et al really are cheerleaders!

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If you want to see genuine mindless negativity visit Loverugbyleague.com's Facebook page and have a look at the 'debate' on what Super League should be called. There's not a positive or vaguely constructive post in sight.

We can try to make scapegoats out of the dwindling band of journalists who cover our sport in the national press but, compared to large numbers of the game's 'supporters', Irvine et al really are cheerleaders!

Hey, fans get plenty of stick here too - there is an argument that the journalists are just playing to the crowd too.

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Don't you think a lot of this negativity is because with a strategic review you essentially review everything, warts and all? No need to beat ourselves up because every stone and every structure is being tested fit for purpose. That's what reviews are for.

 

However the problem is that review is 2-3 years too late, and ideally should have taken place before the last licencing round. Now that's old news but someone should have ensured the review was delayed to keep the airwaves clear for the World Cup. The review could have waited because it was already overdue and whatever the outcome of the review, we could have implemented it for 2015.

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Rugby League World - April 2017

League Express - Mon 10th April 2017