Clubs’ survival issues part of the RL narrative

Martyn Sadler
Martyn Sadler

Part of the Rugby League narrative is the constant battle of clubs to survive.

We have recently had severe doubts about three clubs coming to the staring line for the 2014 season – London Broncos in Super League, Swinton Lions in the Championship and South Wales Scorpions in Championship One.

It now looks as though the Broncos are 95 per cent certain to be saved, and it looks as though they will be playing their home games at The Hive in Harrow, north London, which has the potential to be a great home for them.

I hope they will make an announcement this week confirming that arrangement.

And South Wales Scorpions now look to be secure, after they were taken over last week by Wales Rugby League, the governing body for the game in the Principality.

On the other hand, the future of Swinton still looks uncertain, and I hope they will be able to find new sources of finance soon.

The Lions are one of the most historic names in Rugby League, having won the Four Cups in one season in 1928. I would hate to see them disappear.

But the problems don’t end there.

What is going to happen to Bradford Bulls?

I warned when the Super League clubs agreed to cut the Bulls’ funding for two seasons to half of what the other clubs receive that they were storing up trouble, and I hate to be proved right.

The Bulls have been a great club, but it’s desperately disappointing to see them floundering now.

They desperately need someone to come into the club with the resources to keep them afloat at a respectable level, and they need some directors who understand the game, and how to run a club.

Their three current directors are all relatively inexperienced, through no fault of their own, and we can’t fault their willingness to take on the burden of running the Bulls.

But they do need some financial help from somewhere.

I’ve always thought that the RFL should commission a leading firm of management consultants to find wealthy individuals who would be willing to invest in a major club.

That would probably be the only way forward.