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RayCee

The RFL Is OK IMO

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Trying to run a sport isn't easy. You're dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

I recall when licencing came in. Some said p/r is what sport in the U.K. is all about. Bring it back.

Now it is here again, many are unhappy if certain teams are relegated, due to what they bring to the game.

I personally saw the licencing period as bringing stability and improved stadia etc. Now the p/r has brought excitement and unpredictability. It also gives opportunity for the best run clubs to rise to the top. 

So all I can say is I feel the RFL has and is doing rather well. I understand positivity isn't a RL thing. However, I'd like to put my hat into the ring and say "well done". Sure things aren't perfect but they have challenging circumstances to work with.

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The RFL is an organisation run on a shoestring budget with grossly understaffed teams, especially in comparison with other sports.  What they achieve with the resources they have is excellent, the problem is that "excellent" for an overstretched organisation is probably not enough for the game we have.

We have a club game run by club owners with the real money and power, the club owners only allow the RFL any power because it's things they either have no interest in or need a scapegoat for.  The international game only exists in the poor form it is now because the club owners give the RFL a bone now and again to chew on.

We have other major rugby league nations run by their clubs as well and they also have little real interest in what goes on elsewhere unless there's money in it.

So, yes, the RFL is doing rather well, it just isn't enough though.

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Despite what a small, vocal and extremely repetitive group on TRL like to claim, the RFL are not totally incompetent.

Neither are they brilliant, infallible geniuses. They are doing an okay job, given the restrictions upon them.

They are trying to do their best for the game as a whole with limited power and funds. Against them are arrayed the veto threat from self-interested club chairmen and a stuck-in-the-mud media whose approach oscillates between fogeyish ignorance, sneering dismissiveness and apoplectic, fact-phobic hatred.

Oh, and most of all, the most toxic enemies are the self-proclaimed fans of the sport who seem to spend most of their time fabricating grievances from an unstinting wellspring of historical grudges and insane, paranoiac victimhood.

They are doing a very tough job on a shoestring budget, under constant attack from without and, sadly, within. Are they doing a great job? No. But they are not doing as terrible a job as is claimed by the monomaniac loons either. 

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3 hours ago, Futtocks said:

Despite what a small, vocal and extremely repetitive group on TRL like to claim, the RFL are not totally incompetent.

Neither are they brilliant, infallible geniuses. They are doing an okay job, given the restrictions upon them.

They are trying to do their best for the game as a whole with limited power and funds. Against them are arrayed the veto threat from self-interested club chairmen and a stuck-in-the-mud media whose approach oscillates between fogeyish ignorance, sneering dismissiveness and apoplectic, fact-phobic hatred....

They are doing a very tough job on a shoestring budget, under constant attack from without and, sadly, within. Are they doing a great job? No. But they are not doing as terrible a job as is claimed by the monomaniac loons either. 

That is what I was trying to say. I feel if any of us was doing the job instead, we would soon realise it's harder than it looks. The armchair is a great place to judge as there is no comeback on opinions. 

Some may say the sitauation that limits the RFL's power stops them messing up but I guess unless they get the chance to try, we'll never know. 

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4 hours ago, RayCee said:

That is what I was trying to say. I feel if any of us was doing the job instead, we would soon realise it's harder than it looks. The armchair is a great place to judge as there is no comeback on opinions. 

Some may say the sitauation that limits the RFL's power stops them messing up but I guess unless they get the chance to try, we'll never know. 

They had a blank canvass on things like the Women's game and England RL (fixtures, merchandising, promotion) and have been found to be completely incompetent. There is no club interference in the shambolic way they have cobbled together a half arsed women's competition and told absolutely no one. There is no excuse for this England shop 8 weeks before the biggest competition in international history. https://www.blksport.co.uk/pro-teams-c34/all-teams-c35/england-rugby-league-c66 There is no excuse for going years at a time with no England home games.

I get they are woefully understaffed. But that does not make excuses for things like booking a 55k Olympic stadium for a test and closing huge sections of it to the point of actually prohibiting sales. Four Nations games at Workington and Hull KR - absolute small time.

I am sick of going on about whether Wood/Rimmer should be punted or not. When Lewis came in we knew he was putting his stamp on things whether we agreed with them or not (e.g. BARLA unification, introduction of Tri Nations, Catalans, Licensing, Sport England finding, protection of London). With these two I feel they are simply meandering along. If we want that then fine. 

Edited by Scubby
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Like most things in life the answer is neither black nor white - it's a complex tapestry. The absolutists who blame the RFL for literally everything are missing the point completely. What I see is some averagely competent people attempting a complex task with one hand tied behind their back, and, also, a couple of absolute roasters who seem to be in it for what they can take out. 

Licensing failed because the RFL were too weak in the face of the super league clubs. To operate a franchise sport you need a governing body that rules with a rod of iron and micro manages pretty much every aspect of the competition: MLS is a great example of what a franchise sport with a salary cap can achieve. This was ALWAYS an absolute pipe dream for rugby league in this country. TBH, I didn't mourn the passing of licensing I've always preferred P/R. But it was ridiculous to even attempt it with the resources and power base (or lack thereof) the RFL had and still has. 

There are plenty of examples of the SL club chairmen shooting the game in the foot; the embarrassing scramble to divide up bradfords share of the TV money rather than invest it in grassroots development or anything really other than greedy self interest is perhaps the starkest and most memorable. But the list of failures and own goals by the RFL grows by the week. Rugby league has some real problems at the moment - many of them caused by factors beyond the control of the RFL or anyone else in northern hemisphere rugby league. I mean; look at the NRL....it's not like they are any better and they have Ten times the budget of the RFL.

The inability to come up with a league structure that has stability and underpins grassroots development, for me, is our biggest issue. Forty years of fear and loathing between BARLA and the RFL is, perhaps, one reason for this. There are others, the insistence on changing everything for something even more gimmicky than the last every 3 or 4 years, the constant carping over wether P/R is sustainable any more is another (I think Hull KR and Toulouse are currently proving that it is, but I'm sure someone can come up with examples of how it isn't) we need a pathway for ambitious clubs to grow organically, (with an understanding that some clubs will never really be able to cut it at the very top level) but we also need to provide the opportunity for 'Toronto' clubs as long as they meet stringent criteria. We need to marry the pro game to the community game in a way that is beneficial to both and not detrimental to the amateurs. I believe these things are within the power of the RFL and the clubs to sort out; but I feel for it to work the SL clubs may have to give up their double voting rights. And that's not likely to happen any time soon. The international game is another story entirely. The NRL is the key to that and they are paranoid control freaks so we are unfortunately all just passengers on that ship. 

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11 hours ago, ckn said:

The RFL is an organisation run on a shoestring budget with grossly understaffed teams, especially in comparison with other sports.  What they achieve with the resources they have is excellent, the problem is that "excellent" for an overstretched organisation is probably not enough for the game we have.

We have a club game run by club owners with the real money and power, the club owners only allow the RFL any power because it's things they either have no interest in or need a scapegoat for.  The international game only exists in the poor form it is now because the club owners give the RFL a bone now and again to chew on.

We have other major rugby league nations run by their clubs as well and they also have little real interest in what goes on elsewhere unless there's money in it.

So, yes, the RFL is doing rather well, it just isn't enough though.

Agree with most of that. And surely much of it is self-evident! And, sadly, we see the consequences in how the sport is both failing to progress and going backwards in so many areas, when it should be the best team sport on the planet to watch.

One thing I'd add though. Because the RFL has limited power and resources, and because the (SL) clubs are so dominant, taking on running the RFL is IMO a pretty thankless task and poisoned chalice. A task and challenge hardly likely to appeal to many of the sort of capable and objective individuals the game actually needs to sort it out?

Which is why we end up with the likes of Wood and Rimmer.

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40 minutes ago, Scubby said:

They had a blank canvass on things like the Women's game and England RL (fixtures, merchandising, promotion) and have been found to be completely incompetent. There is no club interference in the shambolic way they have cobbled together a half arsed women's competition and told absolutely no one. There is no excuse for this England shop 8 weeks before the biggest competition in international history. https://www.blksport.co.uk/pro-teams-c34/all-teams-c35/england-rugby-league-c66 There is no excuse for going years at a time with no England home games.

I get they are woefully understaffed. But that does not make excuses for things like booking a 55k Olympic stadium for a test and closing huge sections of it to the point of actually prohibiting sales. Four Nations games at Workington and Hull KR - absolute small time.

I am sick of going on about whether Wood/Rimmer should be punted or not. When Lewis came in we knew he was putting his stamp on things whether we agreed with them or not (e.g. BARLA unification, introduction of Tri Nations, Catalans, Licensing, Sport England finding, protection of London). With these two I feel they are simply meandering along. If we want that then fine. 

Thanks for your input Scubby, I always enjoy your opinion. 

On some of the things you raise I can offer opinions of my own, but we won't get a response from the RFL I guess to hear their side.

Being short staffed will make any operation look bad. It comes down to how well they use that limited resource.

The women's game is going to suffer if the RFL struggle with resources to work with the men's game. Certainly poor communication isn't good enough. 

I don't know about lost sales at the Olympic stadium. Was the amount paid to hire the stadium a factor in not all seats being available? Taking games to smaller stadiums was obviously a planned move, perhaps because in larger facilities a small attendance would become a costly mistake. 

Managing sport is a challenge that often is found wanting. The NZRL is in trouble as it has virtually no revenue stream. The NRL lacks direction and the ARU is struggling. FIFA? Wow! The RFL seems to have just one sizable rights bidder when it comes to RL in the U.K. so has no bargaining power. Top executives don't come cheap so they are beyond reach.

I think the way the current system that the RFL has introduced for the three top divisions was well thought out; others don't agree. For me that sort of decision making is a step up from meandering. Any decision the RFL makes could prove costly if it fails so it has to be one step at a time.

A perceived lack of forward thinking could in fact necessary caution. Do one thing, get it right, then the next step. RL in the U.K. isn't on a strong enough footing to have too many failures. It doesn't have the resources to be doing too much at once either.

These are a few ideas but speculative. I would love to hear the RFL explain their side. It would allay some doubts but probably not all of them. If they are boxing with one hand tied behind their back, they will have to be defensive for most of the time. For all of the above possibilities I cut them some slack.

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Three comments came in at about the same time. We must have been writing then simultaneously. 

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17 minutes ago, RayCee said:

Thanks for your input Scubby, I always enjoy your opinion. 

On some of the things you raise I can offer opinions of my own, but we won't get a response from the RFL I guess to hear their side.

Being short staffed will make any operation look bad. It comes down to how well they use that limited resource.

The women's game is going to suffer if the RFL struggle with resources to work with the men's game. Certainly poor communication isn't good enough. 

I don't know about lost sales at the Olympic stadium. Was the amount paid to hire the stadium a factor in not all seats being available? Taking games to smaller stadiums was obviously a planned move, perhaps because in larger facilities a small attendance would become a costly mistake. 

Managing sport is a challenge that often is found wanting. The NZRL is in trouble as it has virtually no revenue stream. The NRL lacks direction and the ARU is struggling. FIFA? Wow! The RFL seems to have just one sizable rights bidder when it comes to RL in the U.K. so has no bargaining power. Top executives don't come cheap so they are beyond reach.

I think the way the current system that the RFL has introduced for the three top divisions was well thought out; others don't agree. For me that sort of decision making is a step up from meandering. Any decision the RFL makes could prove costly if it fails so it has to be one step at a time.

A perceived lack of forward thinking could in fact necessary caution. Do one thing, get it right, then the next step. RL in the U.K. isn't on a strong enough footing to have too many failures. It doesn't have the resources to be doing too much at once either.

These are a few ideas but speculative. I would love to hear the RFL explain their side. It would allay some doubts but probably not all of them. If they are boxing with one hand tied behind their back, they will have to be defensive for most of the time. For all of the above possibilities I cut them some slack.

The Olympic Stadium fiasco in itself was unforgivable given that we had achieved a 44k crowd at the same stadium, against less glamorous opponents only 6 months before the 4N fixtues were released (that was around 85% capacity). To then close the majority of the stadium until only weeks before the game must have lost 1000s in sales (who wants to sit behind the sticks lower tier as opposed to the half way or 20m area?) In the end barely 34k turned up. Same gig 12 months on (higher profile e.g. 4N) don't increase the game's attendance - lose almost 20%. Unforgivable and incompetent IMO.

Edited by Scubby

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I couldn't disagree more with the OP.

1. If they have a small budget why are they paying the ceo 320k?

2. Attendances not growing for events (Magic, CC, Semis) 

3. Attendances not growing for SL or Champs

4. Very poor levels of sponsorship income for main comps

5. Complete failure to build on hugely successful world cup

6. Failure to offer any meaningful support to new and old expansion clubs

7. Bradford Bulls/Odsal. Not really sure where to start with this one.

8. Painfully bad effort to introduce England match streaming 

9. Awful England merchandising online efforts 

10. Bizarre restructuring of comps which they're probably going to change AGAIN

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Whilst it is clearly a response to the RFL bashing threads this has the potential to be interesting. On the negative treads many examples and reasons for believibg they are incompetent are given. So for those suggesting that the RFL are doing a good job, maybe you can highlight specifically what the RFL have done well in the last 2 to 3 years?

Couple from me for starters:

1. Securing a long term TV deal. I know people list this as a negative, but we have never seen an increase like it since the first deal which was then reduced. For a financially struggling sport, that security is welcome.

2. Sky Try. Securing large funding from Sky for this is a very welcome move.

3. The 2021 World Cup bid. Following from the great 2013 WC this one looks even more ambitious and has already secured a huge investment from the government plus a BBC TV deal.

 

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5 hours ago, Scubby said:

The Olympic Stadium fiasco in itself was unforgivable given that we had achieved a 44k crowd at the same stadium, against less glamorous opponents only 6 months before the 4N fixtues were released (that was around 85% capacity). To then close the majority of the stadium until only weeks before the game must have lost 1000s in sales (who wants to sit behind the sticks lower tier as opposed to the half way or 20m area?) In the end barely 34k turned up. Same gig 12 months on (higher profile e.g. 4N) don't increase the game's attendance - lose almost 20%. Unforgivable and incompetent IMO.

Agree this was a shocker 

The 4n was terrible In terms of planning and stadia....

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3 minutes ago, Southerner80 said:

Agree this was a shocker 

The 4n was terrible In terms of planning and stadia....

John Dutton, the man who headed the 2016 4N, has been put in charge of the 2021 RLWC. Let's hope he is a quick learner.

Edited by Scubby

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5 minutes ago, Scubby said:

John Dutton, the man who headed the 2016 4N, has been put in charge of the 2021 RLWC. Let's hope he is a quick learner.

Yeah let's hope.

I mean it's not rocket science. 

1-2 games In London

England v at Wembley or Olympic Stadium (Wembley better) 

And Nz v Oz at Loftus Road (lots of Anzacs)

And the rest at Wigan, Leeds, Warrington, St Helens, Huddersfield and if you need a bigger stadium Elland Road or Anfield (they got one thing right) 

Coventry - bad idea. 

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1 minute ago, Spidey said:

4N venues were announced too late. At least for 2021 he's it plenty of time to sort this out

We could release all tickets now and open a row a week ;) 

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The 4N at Cov was great for me and my 2 youngsters.  The RFL made it an exciting and enjoyable event .   I'm excited about the 2017 World Cup and selfishly hope 2021 sees some matches in venues like Cov. 

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Good discussion.

Rant = Passion but doesn't guarantee insight. Having a list of pet hates without substantial evidence is a Brexit response to the issues. This is something we need to get away from.

The recognition of the limited powers of the RFL is a useful starting point.

Assuming that any decline is a direct result of the RFL and two suspects in particular is the basis we need to start from.

Questions: Who is in charge of the International game calendar in the RFL?

                   Have they been prevented from doing this role effectively by anyone else involved in the                game?

                   What exactly is their role? (job description)

                   What is the budget?

                   Who markets that?

                  What is their budget?

                 What have they actually done/achieved?

                What measure are we going to apply to assess this?

 

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8 hours ago, Tre Cool said:

I couldn't disagree more with the OP.

1. If they have a small budget why are they paying the ceo 320k?

2. Attendances not growing for events (Magic, CC, Semis) 

3. Attendances not growing for SL or Champs

4. Very poor levels of sponsorship income for main comps

5. Complete failure to build on hugely successful world cup

6. Failure to offer any meaningful support to new and old expansion clubs

7. Bradford Bulls/Odsal. Not really sure where to start with this one.

8. Painfully bad effort to introduce England match streaming 

9. Awful England merchandising online efforts 

10. Bizarre restructuring of comps which they're probably going to change AGAIN

The armchair critic. If only you were running the game. Oh well. 

On reflection, I didn't need to respond to this. My apology. The content says it all.

Edited by RayCee

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20 hours ago, RayCee said:

The armchair critic. If only you were running the game. Oh well. 

On reflection, I didn't need to respond to this. My apology. The content says it all.

Which bit do you disagree with? It was a well reasoned post not sure why the need for the insult and heavy sarcasm?

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On 24/08/2017 at 3:06 AM, Tre Cool said:

Which bit do you disagree with? It was a well reasoned post not sure why the need for the insult and heavy sarcasm?

Hi. If you that was reasoned, I've nothing to add on the subject.

There was no heavy sarcasm but I'm sorry if you took it that way.

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