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boxhead

Marwan Koukash: I'll turn rugby league into a global sport

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there is a marked difference between somethign being new or different, and something being radical.
 
I dont think the new structure is radical, i dont see what is radical about it. At the top its a different play-off structure. Not really a radical change we have been through numerous play-off structures.
 
At the bottom, yeah its different, but its yearly P+R done in a slightly different way.
 
Had we changed to conferences, yes that would have been radical. Had france been given one of the 4 promotion play-off places that would have been radical.
 
For us to be radical we need to a marked change from the norm, not to simply do the same things with the same clubs in a slightly different way.

We cant implement half measures then claim we are radical. We arent.

 

And this brings us back to Koukash and his differences with some within the game.
 
If you want to talk about radical you talk about the guy prepared to put his money where his mouth is, the one talking about the big names in lights and putting on a 9's comp in Dubai.
 

Not the ones saying well lets see how it goes, theres a new system coming in lets bed it in and maybe we can spend a little more money, slow and steady wins the race.

 

Aye, the one who is radical is the one talking about things.

 

We clearly disagree, you must be the only person I know who doesn't think that the changes to the structure next year aren't radical.

 

It is absolutely a fundamental change.

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Not many leagues in any sport were a third of the league go into a relegation play off

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Just for the sake of it: the french women basketball league has the exact same thing running since 2005. There are probably many other similar exemples somewhere in the world.

Yes, I really should have clarified I was talking about the UK sports market (and even then I haven't done my homewrok to know if that is 100% true!)

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But that is all putting a negative spin on it influenced by your perception.

 

Let's flip those the other way:

 

Radical move to summer sport.

Original re-structure, including bringing in two teams not through traditional promotion (London and Paris)

Radical WCC.

Re-introduction of a Grand Final to decide Champions.

Introduction of a salary cap.

Magic Weekend - the only sport that has a festival where all 14 teams play in one venue over a weekend.

New teams launched in SL not through traditional promotion - Gateshead and Catalan.

Introduction of licensing involving scrapping of relegation.

Introduction of 3 x 8.

 

Now many of the things above have had issues around them, but then we are a poor game with a fanbase that struggles to grow.

 

We could go through all of the above and find plenty of flaws in them, but to claim that the game is interested in maintaining the status quo and not interested in new ideas from outsiders is quite simply, wrong.

Looking at the above - and bringing things back to Marwan - you could look through that list and see some of them as radical innovations and some of them as gimmicks, using the specific definition of gimmick as being something of little use. Many of them are in the former category, but some - Magic Weekend (as it is now, since it's now devoid of its original purpose: to spread the game); 3 x 8; Club Call (which you didn't mention) - for example, are, to me, gimmicks (it's subjective, obviously, except for Club Call, which is objectively, manifestly and absolutely stupid). Unfortunately, these are quite recent changes, and changes which have been brought in by the current administration (I think; to be honest, I haven't checked, but I'm reasonably confident they are). It's difficult to think of anything to put on the other side of their balance sheet. And here's where Marwan comes in, because it seems to me that's the crux of his argument. We now seem to have an administration that's buffeted by events rather than one that's charting a course towards a specific objective, which, for me, is what we had under Richard Lewis.

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Nothing wrong with radical ideas and systems. But any changes need to have a purpose that will see the Sport and Clubs have a clear understanding of whats happening and that they have a framework to work towards getting things better both on and off the field. I dont see that and I cant see this system lasting more than a couple of years. I fail to see how the Radical changes will improve the game. Rugby League was a simple game that used to be easy to understand. Now both on and off the field its very complicated and nobody seemingly has an idea of whats happening and especially for new people to the game its not clear whats happening as so many different systems/rules in place both on and off the field. I think right now the game needs to go back to being more simply and easy to understand and the radical ideas can wait.

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I dont think the new structure is radical, i dont see what is radical about it. At the top its a different play-off structure. Not really a radical change we have been through numerous play-off structures.

 

Well the definition is "Characterized by departure from tradition" and guess what................

 

P & R is a modern rugby league tradition from 1973-2009  and was first tried in 1903 when Brighuse Rangers and St.Helens were relegated.

 

Putting four clubs in risk of jeopardy was first tried 1973/4 and it lasted until 1985.

 

Sellotaping two traditions together is in no way radical.

 

Intransigence on this forum is certainly not radical, But no doubt this myth will be repeated many many times.

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I like 'modern tradition'. Presumably not having p&r is a traditional tradition?

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Is Marwan for or against smoking in RL Stadia?

As a matter of interest Marwan does like his cigarettes,but he always observes the rules of the stadiums,and tonight he will be somewhere outside the A.J.Bell on the concourse having a smoke talking to spectators about any subject that they wish to bring up.

He must be the most photographed chairman in the sport,away supporters included.

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Turn it into a global sport? Not if some on here have anything to do with it!

Heaven forbid that we become a true global sport. What about those clubs from this mythical place called the heartlands who have been going for over 100 years and still can't make a profit and still can't produce junior players.

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Would I be right in understanding that this is the eighth page debating Marwan saying he will make the sport a global sport, when he did not actually say such a thing?

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Would I be right in understanding that this is the eighth page debating Marwan saying he will make the sport a global sport, when he did not actually say such a thing?

As with seemingly most threads, it's becoming a mix of is the Doctor good for the game with a dash of P&R and a smidge of the smoking thread. All topics must lead here eventually :codemafia:

 

Back on the topic of what was actually said (I think), wouldn't the 9s be a better fit in China rather than Dubai if it is to be staged? There was talk of Canberra & Manly playing over there as their sponsors are Chinese so there could be an appetite for it. Maybe the WCC if Manly win their Grand Final wouldn't be a bad shout.

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Heaven forbid that we become a true global sport. What about those clubs from this mythical place called the heartlands who have been going for over 100 years and still can't make a profit and still can't produce junior players.

My post was meant to be sarcastic. How very dare Marwan harbour such ambitious thoughts?

The clubs you refer to have had their chances and wasted them.

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I love Marwen !

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Think I'm in the (significant) minority , but i simply don't buy that he's "great for the sport". Yes, he has money. Yes, he has saved Salford. Yes, he has a "huge" media presence and(allegedly) a grand vision to make the game global. But the constant sniping against the RFL and "toys out of the pram" attitude if he doesn't get his way don't strike me as responisible, or well judged. He strikes me as little more than an egotistical loudmouth, who will move out of the game just as soon as he came crashing into it...just as soon as he gets bored or finds something else to interest him for a moment.

I like Marwan. He's a bit of an idiot at times, and some of his ideas are barmy, but he is shaking things up which is needed. He's also bringing money into the game, which is desperately needed. His cash helped out both Cas (Chase) and Wakey (Smith). Once he settles down, and realises that most of the problems in the game are caused by the clubs, rather than the RFL, we'll see if he can lead by example.

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I actually find quotes like that entirely unprofessional and damaging to the game. Why would anybody invest in the game that he is constantly talking down?

 

According to him the game is a mess run by idiots - is that really the way to attract investors to the sport?

 

As long as he says nasty things about the RFL though to feed the frothy-mouthed then all is good in the world.

 

What exactly are his great achievements in RL so far than any rich person couldn't do?

 

I'm happy that he loves RL and he wants to invest, and hope he does so for the next 30 years and makes Salford a force, but I'm not going to celebrate somebody who mouths off, loses RFL votes and then moans, and constantly talks about how things are not fair in the sport. 

 

I understand Salford fans liking him, he is there and spending money, and he clearly has a good heart with some of his Steve Prescott things, but I'll celebrate him more when some of his actual plans for growing RL take off - or even get through a vote.

I'd agree about the tweets. Not nice, not professional, not needed.

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im not sure about the governance, but surely there are ways and means of overthrowing the chiefs. Perhaps the fact there is a lack of desire to do so is because the majority actually support what is going on.

Little can happen without support from within the game ie. The clubs.

Surely if things were so clearly bad and people incompetenet and things would be much better with new people it would be easy to get support for new people?

Fwiw, id be delighted with an international-focused RFL, so Im genuinely not sticking up for them, i just dont get this 'jobs for the boys' cosy club claim that is often touted.

Most people involved at the top of the game have come from different backgrounds, and lets be honest, even when 'outsiders' come in, we still get 'typical RFL' and they get ripped too.

Most of the anti-RFL stuff is just ignorance. There are huge challenges for rugby league, a distinct lack of money being one of them. Under the constraints they have, I think the RFL do a pretty good job. Most people in RL would say that things aren't perfect and that we need to do something about it, but there are so many people pulling in so many different directions, that making any progress at all is extremely difficult and slow.

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One thing i have picked up on is that there seems to be a criticism, from Marwen, and echoed by some of his supporters of other chairmen acting solely in the interests of their own club, and a view that Koukash is selflessly trying to drive the sport forward.

My view is that Koukash is simply trying to act in the interests of his own club Salford. So not sure why he seems to be paraded by some as the saviour of RL. Genuine question what has he done to further the interests of the sport rather than his own team?

Ultimately he has signed one big name player from the NRL and a couple of decent NRL players - other clubs have done this for years. He is assembling a strong salford side mainly from existing SL players.

His salary cap proposals are simply a mechanism to allow his team to compete with more established teams at a risk of destabilising other clubs.

His media bluster is aimed at marketing his club.

Not really a critisism as any owner/chairman aims to further their own club however his investment has been in Salford so don't get the idea of him been some kind of saviour to the wider game?

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Perhaps there is. But, is it necessary that the majority of clubs actually want whats best for the game?

 

There are clubs who are under some pretty crippling financial pressure. An RFL chairman offering them £300k to might make them vote for a proposal that they otherwise wouldnt.

 

There is also a disconnect between what is best for the game, and what is best for a club. As i say there is a sizeable proportion of clubs who are scared of growth, especially at the top end, and see it as a threat. It doesnt give you much of a chance to reduce your investment if you are getting left behind. 

 

An example would be Cas, who publicly stated that they wont vote for a marquee exemption because they can't afford it. Thats an entirely wrong reason, whether it be best for the game has to be the over-riding consideration.

 

I have said before, the governance of the game is all wrong. The power is in the hands of the wrong people and there isnt a demarcation of powers as there should be. Pretty much all democracies have two houses to act as a check. We dont, we should. We just have the clubs and the RFL. Too many people dont have a say.

 

The marquee and SC are a perfect example. It is, in my opinion, unacceptable that those who decide the SC (ergo the Marquee exemption) are largely the same as those paying the salaries and enforced by an organisation held responsible for those clubs. There is an element of turkeys voting for christmas about owners voting for a SC rise. Blake Solly being appointed head of SL is another. There needs to be a clear split in governance between the RFL and SL to represent what may be opposing viewpoints. 

 

There has to be more viewpoints taken in to account. There has to be representation from people whose responsibility is simply the game and its growth, for those whose responsibility is to SL, the same for the amateur game, the youth of the game, the championship clubs, the fans, etc.

 

say there are two proposals put before the RFL and the clubs. 1 would, within 20 years, leave us with a 20 team SL with 8 heartland sides and 12 expansion sides throughout the country and Europe. They would be successful with 50k games, £200m a year TV contracts, we pay by far the best wages and get the best players the game would explode at amateur level, etc. But the other side of that is there is a cut in heartland sides, there isnt a real opportunity for some clubs to move up, the second tier becomes naturally pretty much a farm league like in Australia and some clubs are naturally left behind.

 

Option 2, in 20 years would leave us with a 15k average, 12 team SL with P+R and money spread between the leagues, we have 10/11 heartland sides in the top league, we pay less than RU and the NRL still, we see a little growth at amateur level, not a great deal but its no disaster, most of the clubs at the top are still there, most in the middle still there, a larger lower as clubs swap between leagues.

 

You are a lower SL or championship club, which are you voting for? the one undeniably better for the top tier, and many would argue the game, But it almost certainly leaves you behind, or the one that keeps the dream alive but is far less ambitious?

 

We shouldnt assume what is best for the game is best for the clubs or best for the RFL. Richard Lewis has put his head above the parapet and argued for something else and he was relentlessly attacked for it. Maurice Lyndsay and the original SL blueprint was very forward looking but some people now look on it as a joke and the mergers as a threat from the past when largely the clubs struggling pre SL and pushed towards mergers are still struggling now and have been for most of SL.

 

Id give credit to Hetherington and Lenegan in doing so in certain areas (leeds have invested heavily in looking to expansion areas for players to give a chance to, aswell as the areas themselves, Wigan's investment in Wales) as well. But apart from that its only Koukash that stands up and argues for the fans who dont yet watch and clubs that dont yet play.  The biggest faction of RL never seem to look beyond their own club, and beyond the next few years. 

Good post.

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Moderately interesting bit on BBC website, holding his hands up saying he was a novice and naive when he first started.

 

And the haters were probably right when they said he couldn't just chuck a team together and win the league. FWIW his recruitment (or Iestyn's recruitment *spits*) seems much more composed and thought through than chucking money at Meli and Morley. (Although that is probably Nobby's fault too *sigh*)

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