Salford Red Devils owner Dr Marwan Koukash has attacked the game’s governing body in a 30-minute tirade at his club’s pre-season media day.
The Palestinian racehorse owner, 55, slammed the small salary cap, pointing out how the best players in Super League are earning less than some RFL employees, tore the new Sky TV deal to shreds, and claimed the league must be run by the clubs.
He said: “Since I came into the sport I have become addicted to it. I truly love it. For me it’s possibly the best sport in the world and played by real gladiators.
“Yet our highest-paid player is paid only a fraction of what the people at the RFL are earning. Where’s the fairness in this? And it’s our money they are spending! Things will change because I’m not just going to take part in what’s going on.”
Koukash also took the opportunity to slam the league’s new restructure, claiming the clubs getting relegated from the top tier will receive more central funding than those in the Championship.
“Under the new structure, I would be genuinely very surprised to see teams like Leigh ever getting promoted to Super League,” he said.
“Whoever wins the Championship should be promoted. Let’s have no gimmicks.”
Koukash also spoke of Super League’s lucrative new Sky TV deal, which was thrust upon club chairmen with very little notice.
“I looked around the room and the majority of chairmen didn’t have a clue what was going on but, all of a sudden, we had to vote for the deal,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe it. This deal is not going to shape the future of the sport.
“All right, we’ve got more money – bloody £300,000 per year. Will it let us increase the salary cap? No. I tell you what it will do – it will allow us to stabilise some of the clubs. But imagine a salary cap of £1.8m in a few years time. It will drive our best talent to bloody union or the NRL.”
The racehorse owner believes the RFL should have opened the TV contract to tender, especially now big-spending BT Sport are on the scene.
“I voted against it, because I didn’t think it is the right one. You don’t marry the first girl you meet. You go out with them, you sleep with them, you try them, but don’t commit to the long-term relationship until you’re sure there’s no one else better.
“I have nothing against Sky, I will always work with Sky and I respect what they’ve done for the sport,” he said.
“But hang on, there’s other players around. Have we talked to them, or gone to a tendering process? No. Why commit for so long?
“All right, we’ve got more money – bloody £300,000 per year. Will it let us increase the salary cap? No. I tell you what it will do – it will allow us to stabilise some of the clubs. But imagine a salary cap of £1.8m in a few years time. It will drive our best talent to bloody union or the NRL.
“Maybe I’ve said too much… no, I haven’t said enough. The RFL, before they come out and make all the statements, I think of that song, who are you kidding Mr Hitler? Sorry, Mr Wood.”
What do you think? Is Koukash onto something or being controversial in order to get publicity? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below. You can also watch a video of Koukash claiming Salford will be England’s biggest club by scrolling down.
Want more Rugby League news and features? Subscribe to the online version of League Express newspaper and Rugby League World magazine. You can also connect with Total Rugby League on the social media platform of your choice.
|Click below to read League Express & Rugby League World online now|
|Comment on this story below or join our Fans Forum for more Rugby League debate|