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Everything posted by zylya

  1. The problem is that survival mode only works if there's a light at the end of the tunnel. For example, clubs going into survival mode due to COVID is fine because we can reasonably assume that, at some point, COVID will end. At the moment, there is no light at the end. The survival strategy is "hope that more money comes in." No one has put forward a plan to increase these revenues, or get more fans into the game. So it's not survival, just slowing down the death. Now, let me be clear - I don't want ANY club to fail. However, if we're getting into the business of chopping of limbs to save the host, then all of the clubs you listed have clubs within a 30 minute drive of them. If they went under, there would still be Rugby League in the areas you describe - so any one of those individual clubs isn't required to keep the game relevant in that area. If Coventry goes under, then there's no club in the area any more at all. The game, as a whole, dies out in that area. Additionally, given that these areas already "have some strength" as you put it, then surely they'll be more resilient to a drop in funding than a club that's out of the heartlands like Coventry? If we need to keep pumping money into these clubs, who have existed for a long time, just for them to survive then how can you claim there's strength there? Coventry has existed as a semi-pro club for 6 years... surely we can agree that a club that has existed for over 60 can take a small hit to ensure the game is moving forward?
  2. TBH I think it's overwhelmingly likely that it'll be Toulouse and Featherstone in the grand final, so at this point it's basically fuel to the fire, stoke up a bit of interest for the neutrals. Think it'll be a cracking game.
  3. Absolutely two good examples of clubs who are reaping the rewards for their investment - hopefully they're both at a stage where they'll survive any funding cuts.
  4. Just posted in the Coventry Bears thread, but it's a huge shame that most of the non-heartlands teams are in Championship and League 1 and will therefore the funding cut will have a huge impact on the growth of the game in the South/Midlands.
  5. Devastating news if it happens. League 1, especially considering that nearly half the teams are outside the heartlands, seems like excellent value for money. Especially if the clubs can push the community game alongside it as Coventry are doing very well. I've said before that RL can't just put down random professional teams - it needs to have a whole ecosystem - so a pro/semi-pro club that people can go and watch, community clubs for kids and adults to play the game themselves, a number of schools playing so that kids are introduced to the sport. It's something that Cov seem to be building well. The crazy thing is that if they keep going with all of this (especially if the RFL invested it in better - a lot of the schools stuff should be under the RFL's remit not Cov Bears') then in 10-15 years you could have a really solid, sustainable professional club that has built its own supporter base and academy/player feed-through system. Not that they'd necessarily be Super League, but could get to a strong, full-time Championship club. Imagine if they could make the same thing happen in several large cities across the midlands and the south - it would make a huge difference in terms of players coming through the game and going on to play for England.
  6. Yes and no. Definitely could be more work done in the heartlands to grow some clubs, but there's a ceiling on how many people are likely to support a particular team. For someone outside of the heartlands, who are they going to support? I don't really follow any of the Super League clubs because they're all so far away from me. Plonking a new pro franchise in XYZ city because of its population isn't the answer, but there's a cap on the growth you can achieve by limiting yourself geographically. I do agree that this cap hasn't been hit yet and may be a good area to focus on, but contracting the leagues just to make TV money go further isn't a growth strategy, it's a damage limitation.
  7. Be good to see double-header games for the women's team alongside the men, at least for any England games. Hopefully this is the start of something rather than a last minute -around. As a comparison, the England football and rugby union teams play around 10-12 games per year - more for football if it's a major tournament. I'm not saying we have to get to that straightaway - but it's hard to build any real support for a national team when they only really play fixtures once every four years.
  8. Watched both of the Super League South semi-finals. Army vs Ferns was obviously tough for the Bristol team, especially after losing by a similar margin to Cardiff Demons the week previous. Army looked pretty sharp. Felt a bit for Golden Ferns - there were some good players in their side, but their defence seemed to become disconnected too easily, meaning they were trying to make 1v1 tackles rather than the 2/3 player tackles that the Army were making. Broncos vs Demons was a cracking game - after Cardiff started strongly, I thought it could end up being the same as the previous game, but Broncos fought back into it and it became a really good encounter. Didn't catch the last twenty minutes, but thought both sides showed a lot of class. Army vs Cardiff in the final this weekend should be a really good game.
  9. For me, any internationals have to build up towards the World Cup - would like to see some of these games take place either in RLWC locations or in other locations in England/Wales with targeted marketing applied (e.g. a Wales game in Cardiff that promotes the Welsh group games in RLWC 2021 e.g. in programmes and stadium branding). For a team like Jamaica, a place where there's a decent-sized Jamaican diaspora (I think I read that this was the case in Leeds?!) would be a good place for a game. At the moment, I don't think the international game is big enough, or strong enough, to go to Jamaica on a whim. Every resource should be pushed towards growing the RLWC - so having games that create some interest in the tournament. Things that boost World Cup attendances and create some interest around the teams in there. I think there's a time and a place to start pushing international development into countries like Jamaica, but with the RLWC already being in a precarious state, I would rather see all the limited resources ploughed into the tournament, with few distractions. Obviously if Jamaica wanted to host a World Cup warmup game off their own backs, they should be allowed to do so, but if you're talking as a central process, it should all be RLWC focused.
  10. I think the "league of 36 in 6 conferences" idea is fundamentally flawed. It seems to take some aspects from a variety of successful models but doesn't go wholesale into the model and therefore misses out some key components. E.g. if you have unequal funding based on finishing position, you allow long-term structural inequality to develop - a team that earns £1.3million has a huge advantage over a team earning £80,000 and the differential allows that team to retain this advantage into the next season as well. Even if you equalise the funding, you may reduce the differential between top and bottom teams, but you'll never truly eliminate it. The widely differing populations and demographics of some of the clubs involved means that they're never going to hit 20k+ audiences or be able to consistently produce top-level players. The numbers are just too small in some cases. There's already an issue with player numbers (in terms of player of a sufficient quality) - it would take 8-10 years minimum for new academy structures to start producing talent regularly - assuming no issues, adequate funding and enough players coming in at the start of the pipeline. Without picking on any individual club, how is, say, a Whitehaven (24k pop) or a Workington (25k pop) going to spin up an academy process to start generating these players to enable their team to get better. Where are they going to find the players in the intervening time? Additionally, the whole plan relies on a number of "hopes" - namely that the investment will happen, that the competition will be adequately marketed and that broadcasters will happily pay at least the same, if not more. It also relies on a number of clubs improving significantly and quickly enough that their club's fanbase doesn't collapse nor does the competition's fanbase. With broadcasters, I struggle to see how this new format will increase the amount of income or interest in the product. There are still top games within this new structure, but these already exist in the current format. So nothing has been added, except for a load of potentially mismatched games. Reduction of mismatches over time isn't an acceptable solution - there's too much potential for fans to become disinterested in the meanwhile. For investment, marketing and other commercial functions, none of those are tied to this new structure. At the moment, the main driver for improvement in standards relies not on the new structure per se, but on the improvement of these commercial areas. Which begs the question, why the need for a new structure, if the new structure requires the same improvement in commercial input as the current structure? For me, the problem has never been one of structure, but of investment - more specifically the lack thereof - not just financial but also in terms of promotion and development. There hasn't been enough done on a game-wide level to bring new people into the game - players, supporters, volunteers etc and especially at a community level. Decisions made a number of years ago are now having an impact. There aren't any short term fixes, as far as I can tell (although a strong marketing campaign would be the first change I'd make...). Instead, there needs to be a long look at what they want the GAME (not just the Super League or any descendant competition) to look like in 25 years. As a whole structure rather than just tinkering at the top. Only then can we start moving towards it. A couple of other random thoughts that give me an idea of where I would be looking if I was in the RFL: On my Facebook (as someone living outside the heartlands), despite liking the RFL and a number of other RL pages, I get more ads for watching GAA than I do for watching Rugby League. Thought this was interesting because someone mentioned GAA earlier. It's not something that interests me specifically, but they're obviously reaching out to people wider than their core areas in a way that Rugby League isn't The 6 nations is worth about £90 million in TV revenue alone per year. Not suggesting that a Rugby League comp would get that straightaway, but it's got to be worth looking into some international rugby. As mentioned, as someone outside the heartlands, I don't really have a team that I support (because there aren't any) so, really, England are my team. I don't own any RL gear except for England stuff. It would be nice to watch them play against another country one day! In terms of player numbers, obviously being restricted to a, relatively, small part of the country is always going to reduce available talent. A better geographic spread, led by a programme of expansion at a community level - i.e. schools etc supported by events such as Magic Weekend and Internationals would be more likely to create new players who could play at a professional level than a structure which may or may not bring in new financial investment
  11. Great news and about time! Not overly optimistic there'll be a game in London, but a man can dream.
  12. I didn't say put them in Super League, I just said that they're growing and will get there eventually. The discussion started because someone suggested that they should stop promotion and relegation to protect the existing Super League clubs, many of which aren't growing. Just because you've tried to reduce the whole of digital marketing to "making a few posts on Twitter" it doesn't mean that these clubs aren't building their profile which will help them to assemble stronger squads in the future. The whole point is that the system needs to ALLOW these clubs the chance to get promoted, not close that option off to protect current teams. No one is suggesting that they be given a spot freely, only that they be allowed to contest for those spots in future.
  13. For my money, York are one of the best clubs in terms of their digital marketing presence and offering, which will pay off for them in the future. They also seem heavily invested in their local community and obviously they have a brand new stadium which will help them long-term. Newcastle seem to have one of the best academy and community programmes - building themselves a proper base locally. The number of community clubs that have sprung up and are being maintained under the Thunder brand will only cause increased interest down the line. The love-in is not because these are two clubs that are ready for Super League right now, but because they're two clubs that have a vision for the future of their respective clubs and are making positive, long-term changes towards that. Lots of Rugby League comes across as short-termist, so these guys stand out as beacons because of their longer term view. There are other examples out there, for example Coventry are really starting to build their community profile.
  14. My read of the article was that no relegation was a temporary measure for 2021 only. The suggestion was that no relegation, bring 2 teams up and play a 14-team Super League next year. I guess what happens after that would depend on the meeting today - whether you'd then have 3 teams relegated in 2022 or revert to 1 up, 1 down if they wanted to stick with a 14-team SL. A temporary reprieve for this season would be a good thing given the circumstances, but I wouldn't be in favour of cutting promotion/relegation. But as a lot of posters have already pointed out - this is all short-term stuff. The real questions are around the long-term of it. I get that the TV deal is down and that means less money... the question that gets asked is "how do we distribute this funding?" when the questions that aren't being asked enough are around how to increase the funding and grow the sport. People running the game seems happy to spend lots of time dividing up an ever-decreasing pot but not enough time working on how to get more into the pot.
  15. I know this isn't germane to the topic at hand, but just wanted to jump in and offer some support on this. You're right that this is a hugely disappointing decision, but most of the kids you're coaching are probably happy throwing a ball around with their mates and having a great time, regardless of the wider game issues. You (and all grassroots coaches) are doing a great job and it's an important job even if the national bodies are ###### around. Not just because you're teaching them rugby but because sport for kids is so much more than that.
  16. Would love to see a proper European tournament, so would love to see some of the following countries taking the game seriously and get good at it. I know the OP just said playing it, but I'm taking that to mean develop a strong national team: France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Germany, Italy (+ England would make 8 teams for a tournament). An ultimate goal I'd love to see RL get to the stage where it had a 16 team Euros. Obviously not expecting it to get bigger than the football, but a good-sized tournament to watch in the gaps between World Cups. So basically, all the big European nations as a personal desire.
  17. Don't think it will have any material impact on their World Cup chances, but think it could help the development of the game over there. You'd hope that it'd receive some strong media coverage and would help get more kids into the sport.
  18. Kind of - there were 4 teams that progressed to the round of 16 with the 12 Super League teams - these four also qualified for the semi finals of the 1895. There was the technical possibility that one of those four teams could go on to win the Challenge Cup although obviously extremely unlikely that a Championship club would win the whole cup.
  19. Just to be clear - when people ask about membership schemes within other sports, the truth is that a lot of sports DO have a scheme like this, however they're done at a club or team level rather than an individual level. As an example, my rugby union club pays an affiliation fee to its county RFU. From my research, the only sports that charge participants individually are sports in which individuals compete (e.g. swimming). Team sports, especially RU and football charge based on clubs or teams - this is what the RFL SHOULD be doing, if there is a genuine need to raise funds.
  20. I sent an email in asking a number of questions around why the choice was for individuals to pay a membership fee, which seems to be a hallmark of individual sports (swimming, gymnastics, triathlon etc) whereas team sports (football being the prime example) tend to favour a team-by-team affiliation fee. I also asked some questions around paying twice for the same thing (I.e. one payment to club and one to RFL and the friction this would cause). I was pleasantly surprised to receive a response, letting me know that they’d read my email and had passed it on, also asking if I would be happy (as someone working within a club) to have a chat with someone (at the RFL) about this. I responded that I would definitely be happy to and that I thought it was great if the RFL truly wanted to engage. Unfortunately, I never heard anything back after that. I still don’t see how they’ve come to the decision that an individual participant fee is the most sensible decision. I’m not against a proper affiliation fee structure to ensure the game is well funded, I just can’t see how they can believe this is a good idea.
  21. Not only do I prefer RLWC (and even better a full house of men's, women's & wheelchair...), but if I knew England were going to win the RLWC, I'd actually hope for a disappointing Euros for the football team, so that the RLWC win didn't get overshadowed.
  22. I'm still really keen on the idea of a proper European tournament - not only would this enable some historical country rivalries (essentially England vs anyone else ) but would hopefully enable teams to have their best players available because it would be less travel etc. I know that the European Rugby League has various competitions, but until it has England involved, and is promoted well, it's always going to be a struggle. A competition that England take seriously and the other countries use to try and make a name for themselves would attract interest and would only grow in time.
  23. For me, this is another endorsement for taking the international game seriously. No global brands are going to take a regional sport seriously (unless they're based in those regions), but if there's a thriving international game then there's lots of opportunities to attract these high-level partnerships.
  24. Problem with expecting Catalans/Toulouse to produce all the French players is that they're only 2 clubs vs 10+ full time clubs in England. Forcing a quota ignores the huge structural difference in English RL vs French RL. If you're saying that Catalans can only use French players/must use a minimum number of French players, then the English clubs should only be able to use players that were developed by that club (the "home grown" rule essentially). If you allow e.g. Saints to pick up players from all of the other Super League academies because those players are English, but don't allow Catalans to pick up those same players, that's a structural disadvantage for the French clubs. You can't say "oh but the English teams can't just pick up the French players either" because there's such a disparity in number of players being produced. You're essentially saying, in a professional league, that certain clubs have a much smaller player pool than others, but are still expected to remain competitive on-field. Now, would I like to see some sort of salary cap dispensation for home grown players (i.e. who came through that club's academy)? Absolutely, I think it could be a great way to encourage clubs to develop their own players. But what you're suggesting would put the French clubs at a significant disadvantage in terms of playing performance and would therefore eventually lead to their relegation, which would set the development of French RL back even further.
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