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Super League clubs to compete with Rugby Union

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Interesting article. IMO this is the strongest position RL has been in for 20 years.

Quote

The Hull owner, Adam Pearson, has said that Super League clubs are set to approve some major changes in the coming months which will transform the sport’s mainstream profile in this country and allow it to properly compete with rugby union.

The 12 Super League clubs recently ratified changes to the competition’s board which led to the Rugby Football League’s chief executive, Nigel Wood, resigning as a director, with the 12 CEOs instead appointed as directors to allow them to have a more definitive say in the competition’s direction.

Pearson, speaking exclusively to the Guardian, believes that extra power for the clubs will now create the possibility for significant changes in the sport. He said: “I think you’ll find that over the next three months, there will be some significant changes to the game in this country. We’re no longer prepared to be accepted as a poor relation; we’re fed up of being downtrodden as a code just because we’re on the M62 compared to the M5.

Super League to stage Wigan v Hull regular season match in Australia

“We need to start getting some due recognition and you’ll see some major changes in the coming months. We feel we can manage the sport in a more professional manner that appeals to more people and more sponsors. I think there’s a collective feeling in the sport that over the next six months with the way we’re going, we can become a real threat to rugby union in this country.”


While Pearson would not divulge information on the changes in closer detail, one such matter could be the approval of more fixtures being taken overseas. Hull are due to play Wigan in Wollongong in February, the first time a Super League game has been played outside Europe. The proposed New York franchise – who want to enter the RFL in 2019 – will almost certainly host a Super League fixture in the US later this year if they enter, too.

When asked if their fixture could be the catalyst for more on-the-road games, Pearson said: “If it works, then very possibly. We’re meeting Toronto [Wolfpack] next week and if they’re serious about coming into Super League and adding new broadcast rights and franchises, then we truly have a global game once the Americans get involved, too. The athletes in our sport are just as good as in union, and someone will eventually catch on that inflated wages going into tighthead props that can play 30 minutes in the other code can be spent just as well in rugby league. Someone will wise up to it.”

As part of the sport’s expansion plans England are also hoping to play New Zealand in Denver this year, and Pearson insists that is a concept that Hull support. “Yes, certainly. We think that to get into a North American market for the sport is well worth a go, so let’s have a look. Why not? It will be an interesting proposition but we need the help of the NRL.”


The RFL is welcoming applications to become the sport’s new chief executive in this country following the announcement Wood would leave this month. He is expected to become the new head of the Rugby League International Federation, with a number of high-profile names linked as his replacement including the Everton CEO, Rob Elstone.

Elstone was a member of the board at the Super League side Castleford before moving into football, though it is unclear whether he would be interested in returning to league. The former Super League general manager Blake Solly is unlikely to apply. Solly is understood to be settled in his role as the chief executive of the NRL club South Sydney.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/07/super-league-clubs-transformed-adam-pearson-hull

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It's interesting, doesn't reflect well on Wood and seems pretty clear where they see as the growth areas. 

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Pearson says: "We’re meeting Toronto [Wolfpack] next week and if they’re serious about coming into Super League and adding new broadcast rights and franchises, then we truly have a global game once the Americans get involved, too."

Seems like lack of local players isn't a dealbreaker after all, and it'll all come down to money. If they can provide 13 televised games for resale, then I reckon they're in.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

It's interesting, doesn't reflect well on Wood and seems pretty clear where they see as the growth areas. 

It is a fair bit of nebulous big-talk (apart from mentioning on-the-road games) about how the clubs can run the whole game better now there's nobody to stand in the way of the SL clubs' own interests. While I hope they bring some new energy and ideas to the task of growing the game, this is still very much a "wait and see" situation for me.

When the chairmen and their accountants get down to money matters, I hope the pro-growth talk and the concerns of the wider game don't get left by the wayside.

Edited by Futtocks
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I don't want to sound downbeat, but...

The clubs were responsible for accepting the farcical Stobart deal and introducing a marquee player allowance whilst refusing to stump up £30K per side for a reserve competition.

I fear that effectively having 12 CEO's running the league is going to lead to more selfish decisions which will impact hugely on Championship clubs. A closed shop where only Super League clubs have a say in how the sport is run seems a real possibility to me, at the expense of the semi-professional, amateur and international game.

I hope it works, but the clubs can't simply be allowed to do as they please and there must be some form of RFL involvement. On the positive side, it no longer allows clubs to abdicate responsibility. A prime example being Ian Lenegen, who has done nothing but criticise the recent TV deal with SKY, which he voted in favour of!

I hope that decisions are made in the interests of the sport and not the bank balances of club chairmen.

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22 minutes ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

Bye-bye heartlands?

More like hello and welcome expansion areas.

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3 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

It is a fair bit of nebulous big-talk (apart from mentioning on-the-road games) about how the clubs can run the whole game better now there's nobody to stand in the way of the SL clubs' own interests. While I hope they bring some new energy and ideas to the task of growing the game, this is still very much a "wait and see" situation for me.

When the chairmen and their accountants get down to money matters, I hope the pro-growth talk and the concerns of the wider game don't get left by the wayside.

Yeah, its light on a lot of detail (to be expected if they arent yet official), and some of it is a bit of bigging themselves up, but im not sure its because someone was standing in the way of their interests, seems more of a competency statement in my opinion. Not in every case they would do it differently, but that they could do it better.

What i find interesting is that usually the game leaks like a sieve and we all know whats going to happen long before it is officially announced, yet here we have On the road, overseas, Denver, Toronto, New York, other NA clubs, its all big talk and it seems more of a question of when and how than if and everything seems very advanced but we know next to no details. I dont know if thats a good thing or a bad thing.

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Some people will be so glad to see Nigel Wood go that the identity and vested interests of the new regime will not be a problem for them, until - if things go badly - it is too late.

As fans, we need some way to try and hold club chairmen accountable for decisions that affect the big picture.

Edited by Futtocks
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Nice to see such comments about the games future and I’m enthusiastic about what’s to come next.

We can say greedy club owners are in it for themselves and not the good of the game, but whatever is to come, it might not be in their interests to be unaccountable  or reckless in decisions.  Until we know finer details, we’re guessing, but IMO its great to be hearing Pearsons comments.

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11 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

I don't want to sound downbeat, but...

The clubs were responsible for accepting the farcical Stobart deal and introducing a marquee player allowance whilst refusing to stump up £30K per side for a reserve competition.

I fear that effectively having 12 CEO's running the league is going to lead to more selfish decisions which will impact hugely on Championship clubs. A closed shop where only Super League clubs have a say in how the sport is run seems a real possibility to me, at the expense of the semi-professional, amateur and international game.

I hope it works, but the clubs can't simply be allowed to do as they please and there must be some form of RFL involvement. On the positive side, it no longer allows clubs to abdicate responsibility. A prime example being Ian Lenegen, who has done nothing but criticise the recent TV deal with SKY, which he voted in favour of!

I hope that decisions are made in the interests of the sport and not the bank balances of club chairmen.

Yes, I’m very much of a similar mindset Chris. I just feel the SL clubs will do what’s best for SL and SL only. Whilst it’s good to hear talk of more expansion into NA it will come at a cost and I just don’t see some SL clubs willing to pay the price necessary.

Edited by deluded pom?
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I believe that this is in danger of conflating two issues - the future of SL, which is where the major reorganisation that Pearson is talking about is happening, and the future of the RFL. Whilst the power undoubtedy lie with the SL clubs the authority currently lies with the RFL as does the Sky deal. I read this as the SL Chairmen laying the ground for a wholesale takeover of the RFL, which Nigel Woods stood steadfastly against.

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24 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

I don't want to sound downbeat, but...

The clubs were responsible for accepting the farcical Stobart deal and introducing a marquee player allowance whilst refusing to stump up £30K per side for a reserve competition.

I fear that effectively having 12 CEO's running the league is going to lead to more selfish decisions which will impact hugely on Championship clubs. A closed shop where only Super League clubs have a say in how the sport is run seems a real possibility to me, at the expense of the semi-professional, amateur and international game.

I hope it works, but the clubs can't simply be allowed to do as they please and there must be some form of RFL involvement. On the positive side, it no longer allows clubs to abdicate responsibility. A prime example being Ian Lenegen, who has done nothing but criticise the recent TV deal with SKY, which he voted in favour of!

I hope that decisions are made in the interests of the sport and not the bank balances of club chairmen.

Pretty much sums up what I think to be honest....comes across as a bit Super League closed shop to me?

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11 minutes ago, deluded pom? said:

Yes, I’m very much of a similar mindset Chris. I just feel the SL clubs will do what’s best for SL and SL only. Whilst it’s good to hear talk of more expansion into NA it will come at a cost and I just don’t see some SL clubs willing to pay the price necessary.

What is it that people fear the SL clubs could do that would damage the rest of the sport? All they're doing is taking full commercial control of their own competition - just like the Premier League clubs or Aviva clubs have - but not the sport as a whole. Internationals and community game will remain under the RFL and it's not in the SL clubs interests to see them suffer.

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9 minutes ago, Blind side johnny said:

I believe that this is in danger of conflating two issues - the future of SL, which is where the major reorganisation that Pearson is talking about is happening, and the future of the RFL. Whilst the power undoubtedy lie with the SL clubs the authority currently lies with the RFL as does the Sky deal. I read this as the SL Chairmen laying the ground for a wholesale takeover of the RFL, which Nigel Woods stood steadfastly against.

Understood, but this gives the SL clubs even more power to dictate and veto than they had before (which was already a lot). They probably have more power over the wider UK/European game now than the Premier League has over the FA.

Edited by Futtocks

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5 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

What is it that people fear the SL clubs could do that would damage the rest of the sport? All they're doing is taking full commercial control of their own competition - just like the Premier League clubs or Aviva clubs have - but not the sport as a whole. Internationals and community game will remain under the RFL and it's not in the SL clubs interests to see them suffer.

It is certainly in their long-term interests for RL to grow and thrive at every level. However, it might be in their short-term interests to defer progressive ideas, if their individual end-of-year accounts don't look too healthy.

Edited by Futtocks
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Just now, Futtocks said:

Understood, but this gives the SL clubs even more power to dictate and veto than they had before (which was already a lot). They probably have more power over the wider game now than the Premier League has over the FA.

I dont think it will, the things that include both the lower leagues and SL are voted on by the RL council, where the SL clubs have votes equal to the total of the lower leagues. This doesnt change that. SL clubs have exactly the same power over those types of decisions as they did before.

The change to the SL board is more about the SL clubs taking control of the day to day running of SL. It largely wont affect the wider game.

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I think what this is showing is that the core clubs at the top of the League recognise that, to increase their own revenue the whole league and sport has to expand and raise its own profile. It also infers a certain amount of frustration with the previous regime, thus suggesting that Wood jumped before he was pushed perhaps? These clubs recognise that whilst SL is the relative big time, it could (and needs) to be bigger.

I'm glad to see a focus on NA that seems driven rather that laissez-faire as appeared previously. There's some recognition that England will be part of this new thinking which is welcomed - though I would have preferred a more explicit point on this I guess you could say this is freeing up the RFL to run England better. 

I don't suspect it will be perfect all the time, but I certainly think it will be better for SL if someone takes the bull by the horns so to speak. 

 

 

 

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This is brilliant news. About time we've got something to be excited about. I really hope it works.

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Let's hope for the best.

If we see the new regime consistently pushing for progressive, supportive and positive ideas (even if some don't work out), I'll be more than happy.

If they are just hoping to ride on a wave of goodwill simply for elbowing Wood out of the way, while really backing their own narrow self-interest, I'll be a lot less hopeful about the game's future.

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The suggestion to me is more internationalism and a much bigger salary cap.

Does that seem right?

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8 minutes ago, Bob8 said:

The suggestion to me is more internationalism and a much bigger salary cap.

Does that seem right?

Well, the text quoted in the original post mentions the Toronto and potential New York franchises, the Wigan v Hull match in Australia, plus the Denver test. The first ones were okayed under Nigel Wood's governance, while the latter seems to be under threat from NRL clubs' vested interests.

Beyond that, he says that more on-the-road matches may "possibly" happen. That is all he's half-promised so far. However, he says that more will become public in the next three months, so we can only wait. These ideas could be bold, they could be innovative, they could be myopic and damaging, they could be anything.

Edited by Futtocks
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28 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

It is certainly in their long-term interests for RL to grow and thrive at every level. However, it might be in their short-term interests to defer progressive ideas, if their individual end-of-year accounts don't look too healthy.

Genuine question: What sort of progressive ideas might they block?

Cos it seems to me if anything this allows SL to move quicker in shaking things up.

The obvious thing that might happen is that the SL chairman decide they don't want to spend as much money propping up semi-pro championship clubs who've seen better days, and use it for themselves. This would be sad for some, but if we're lookin for radical transformation,  I doubt that road runs through Fev and Fax etc

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25 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I dont think it will, the things that include both the lower leagues and SL are voted on by the RL council, where the SL clubs have votes equal to the total of the lower leagues. This doesnt change that. SL clubs have exactly the same power over those types of decisions as they did before.

The change to the SL board is more about the SL clubs taking control of the day to day running of SL. It largely wont affect the wider game.

"it won't affect the wider game"  Really? Super Dooper League can't get it going in London and Wales,Despite wasting millions on them. usa and timbucktoo -laughable.What happened to that chap in america who was keen on rl a number of years ago.?

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