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League Restructure Discussion (Merged Threads)

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On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 4:33 PM, Chrispmartha said:

You would be ditching the one thing from any of the formats that has actually been a great success, the SL GF is now a major sporting event in this country, Rugby League has mainly had a playoff system to decide the champions throughout its history.

If we look back over the years in Rugby League we will find that the idea of holding play-offs, to decide the Championship, has indeed held sway for most of the games' history.  Indeed, it was undoubtedly the only fair way of naming the Champion side under the prevailing league system of those times.

 

For those who have forgotten, or are too young to know, prior to 1972 apart from about two seasons in the early sixties, rugby league was played in two divisions, basically divided geographically East and West, Yorkshire clubs played fellow Yorkshire clubs and Lancashire clubs played Lancashire clubs.  This though is actually an over simplification, because Cumbrian clubs played in the Lancashire league and, due to an imbalance in numbers, one or two Yorkshire clubs also played in the Lancashire league. The precursor of the London Broncos, Fulham, also played in the Lancashire league in their early days.

 

The problem was that there was only one league table. Two separate fixture lists but all clubs listed together in one league table.  So it was quite conceivable that, shall we say (just to pick two names at random) Leeds could have finished top, one point more than St. Helens, but not having faced them in a single league match.  Indeed the two clubs would have had a totally different fixture list.  It was for no other reason other than to make this iniquitous situation fair that the play-offs were introduced.

 

Today, with home and away fixtures against every other club in its division, the need for play-off games simply shouldn’t exist – except as a money spinner, both for the clubs and Sky.

 

 

Edited by Bulliac

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37 minutes ago, Dave T said:

 The Championship was a great comp when it had the Grand Final which took a team up to SL. It had more of a clear identity and purpose. 

This bit got me most,

With all due respect David, did you have any expierience or have any now apart from the TV of the Champioship both in the days it employed a GF and in comparrison to the middle 8's.

As a fan who has vast expierience of both, the 8's wins hands down with the interest it delivers, for those involved it has improved every year since its inception and who knows how much more it would have improved.

To me your statement is made to back up your own argument, it has no subdtance to it whatsoever.

 

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2 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

This bit got me most,

With all due respect David, did you have any expierience or have any now apart from the TV of the Champioship both in the days it employed a GF and in comparrison to the middle 8's.

As a fan who has vast expierience of both, the 8's wins hands down with the interest it delivers, for those involved it has improved every year since its inception and who knows how much more it would have improved.

To me your statement is made to back up your own argument, it has no subdtance to it whatsoever.

 

The eights focus is on a who is the worst contest, that is not what we should be focusing on.

 

Care to answer my question about Hudgell and Lenagan while you are here.


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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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52 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The Championship was a great comp when it had the Grand Final which took a team up to SL. It had more of a clear identity and purpose. 

in the beginning yes when it was a level playing field but teams relegated with sky money kept super league squads went straight back up it became a farce

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2 minutes ago, Padge said:

Care to answer my question about Hudgell and Lenagan while you are here.

How very droll, you still carrying on that old one of me and Parky, typical Wigan humour, lifeless.

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1 hour ago, Saint Toppy said:

Remind us again who started all this with a public rant because they didn't get their own way

The only one who looks silly and has launched personal attacks is Hetherington 

   But Hetherington runs the only club that has actually experienced the 'middle 8's'.

McManus was against the salary cap rise - http://www.skysports.com/rugby-league/news/12206/9178163 - yet manages to sign Ben Barba,perhaps he is a marquee signing - or perhaps not! http://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/sport/11045993.Eamonn_McManus_explains_Saints__position_on_marquee_players/

Hetherington has an English coach.St Helens do not.Wasn't Super League meant to raise the English game to challenge the Australians? 

It was McManus who made the statements personal.The 'power grab' was a more general statement.


     No reserves,but resilience,persistence and determination are omnipotent.                       

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41 minutes ago, Adeybull said:

You might have also added the number of matches each payment was to cover, which from memory was something like 60, 11, 1 and not sure. The money to be paid to the lower leagues was in payment for matches. I am sick and tired of some folk saying it was just a handout.

Whether the lower leagues could have secured  such funding by selling their TV rights themselves, or whether Sky paid for the rights to stop any competition, are separate arguments.

Personally, I fear that until the lower leagues form an umbrella body that they all respect and will empower to negotiate - be it for media rights or against SL or to plan a coherent strategy for the professional game outside of SL - instead of leaving it to “The RFL”, they will be divided and conquered. 

And they had better chuffing well get on with it pronto.

If you want to pretend that Sky are paying £16.4million to show 30 C/L1 games over the life of the contract then fine, do that. But it's nonsense. In 20 years no-one has ever paid a penny for those TV rights.

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56 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

Shock, horror, club chairman releases statement setting the record straight by pointing out inaccuracies in a public rant.

Some of the Hetherington lovers on here need to take their heads out if his backside

As pleasant and one-eyed as ever Toppy.

Open your other eye and try actually reading the thread. There is no Hetherington love-in around here.

But hey, somebody said something slightly negative about your beloved club, boo hoo.

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56 minutes ago, Padge said:

 

That isn't what he was getting at, he was on about clubs failing to invest for the future because there was too much of a battle to survive the present. Over a third of your senior clubs looking to just buy in the best they can afford to try and survive in SL and sod everything else is not a great bit of forward planning. At the other end you have the championship clubs over cooking because they see an opportunity that in reality isn't going to do them much good unless they can somehow get into SL and immediately become a top 4/6 club. They could do it with a lot of financial clout, but it has failed so many times you lose count*

 

*Cue the whatabouts, a few times in over 50 years of P&R has it not been the case.

You'll see I discuss the point about investment, suggesting that they stick to that. They articulated it fine, but then went with the melodrama of 'we are frightened to death'. 

I also think that the point about the bottom teams is interesting, as one of the key themes throughout this was about investment in the product and on players, making the league better - it can be argued that with less nervousness at the bottom that they can relax their player investment and just be better than the 1 worse team rather than 4 ambitious clubs from the Champ.

We do need to consider unintended consequences.

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22 minutes ago, Bulliac said:

the need for play-off games simply shouldn’t exist – except as a money spinner, both for the clubs and Sky.

 

 

I disagree with this but let's say you're right, then what's the issue? the game needs money and ditching something that makes the sport money is a ridiculous idea.

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31 minutes ago, Bulliac said:

For those who have forgotten, or are too young to know, prior to 1972 apart from about two seasons in the early sixties, rugby league was played in two divisions, basically divided geographically East and West, Yorkshire clubs played fellow Yorkshire clubs and Lancashire clubs played Lancashire clubs.  This though is actually an over simplification, because Cumbrian clubs played in the Lancashire league and, due to an imbalance in numbers, one or two Yorkshire clubs also played in the Lancashire league. The precursor of the London Broncos, Fulham, also played in the Lancashire league in their early days.

Fulham joined when it was a two divisional home and away system. They may have played in the Lancashire Cup but they didn't play in a Lancashire league because the only Lancashire league was for A teams.

Edited by deluded pom?

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4 minutes ago, deluded pom? said:

Fulham joined when it was a two divisional home and away system. They may have played in the Lancashire Cup but they didn't play in a Lancashire league.

Correct.

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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2 minutes ago, Chrispmartha said:

I disagree with this but let's say you're right, then what's the issue? the game needs money and ditching something that makes the sport money is a ridiculous idea.

The play offs devalue the league matches; the 'big games' are no longer quite so important since, "well what does it matter we'll probably/hopefully win the play-off", so why bother attending the league games? Attendances certainly aren't going up.

My view is that it was better when the champions were the top of the league and the play-offs were a separate competition, you are, of course , perfectly free to disagree. 

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Hunslet RLFC Chairman Neil Hampshire has released a statement following the events this week which saw a handful of Betfred Super League officials lined up alongside new chief executive Robert Elstone to unveil “radical changes” to the game.

Neil Hampshire commented “As League 1 has its most competitive season ever, producing a product the game can be proud to promote, it’s really disheartening to see the wider game starting to tear itself apart at the top.

“Robert Elstone, the new Super League CEO, certainly made sure his entrance into his new role wasn’t going to be missed by beginning his tenure with a dramatic statement that the Super 8s would be ditched in favour of a one up one down system whereby the million pound game would become a play off between the top 2 in the Championship.

“To top it off he finished by saying that Super League would also be running themselves without any future interference from the RFL, thank you very much.

“The fact that he then had to backtrack from all of this as being a done deal less than 48 hours later, when the RFL confirmed nothing at all has been agreed, didn’t matter one jot to him.

“Damage done, as he’d already planted the seed in the eyes of all Super League supporters, game wide sponsors and stakeholders which was his primary objective.

“In his first week we have already learned a lot about the type of political spin doctoring Mr Elstone will be bringing to his new post.

“Is all as straightforward as it seems though? Certainly Gary Hetherington made it absolutely clear that not everyone in Super League was supportive of this approach referring to “an absurd grab for power by a small group of men who think that they own the game”.

“I also thought it was quite telling that only three Super League Chairman could actually be bothered to turn up to anoint their appointed saviour.

“Then of course there is the small matter of the Championship and League 1 Clubs. the vast majority of whom are less than enamored with the proposals and have already entered into talks with Super League and the RFL to tell them exactly that.

“This whole situation stems of course from Wigan Chairman Ian Lenegan who famously wrote directly to the RFL to suggest that, among other things, the RFL should:

  • “Eliminate Championship / Championship 1 payments as soon as possible under Contracts by RFL negotiation. Replace then with whatever funding to Championship the new SL Board views as reasonable”
  • “Eliminate any SL funding to Championship 1 and encourage Clubs to become similar to leading community Clubs”

And allow Super League to:

  • “Take over commercial control of SL sponsorship”
  • “Take the lead role in discussions with Sky Sport over SL Broadcasting”

“The fact that he didn’t even realise we are called League 1 rather than Championship 1 hardly inspires.

“The latest to jump onto the bandwagon is of course Lenegans fellow SL puppet master Eamon McManus, esteemed Chair of St Helens. In his response to Gary Hetherington he said “….their Clubs do actually own Super League and in equal shareholding proportions”.

Erm, but that ownership changes dependent on who is actually in Super League doesn’t it Eamon? So if 4 Championship Clubs were to be promoted at the end of this season then things may not be quite the same around that top table? Oh of course, that’s why you want to stop that possibility………

“Some may view this stance as a little hypocritical as the League ditched the 8s system at the end of last season. There were actually 2 major contributing factors.

“Firstly, most clubs are tenants rather than owners of their own stadia in this league and it was becoming incredibly difficult to arrange fixtures at short notice.

“But secondly, and by far most importantly for the Clubs, we retained the 2 up 2 down promotion and relegation system. Different structure yes, but it still gives the same outcome.

“That’s not what’s being proposed in Super League and let’s face it, promotion and relegation is one of the two core principles at the heart of this whole conflict.

“Lest we forget, licensing almost destroyed the game creating far too much of a financial gap between SL and the rest and many of our current problems are still down to the fact that that divide has still to be bridged.

“It was a system that also openly rewarded failure by allowing teams the opportunity to finish bottom 3 years on the trot and yet still retain their place via an approved application process.

“Only one Club, Widnes, ever made the step up during the licensing years and even then they only finished mid table in the year their application was accepted.

“No doubt they were holding funds back for the following year but who could blame them? It was the flaw which helped expose the folly of the system for what it was.

“Whichever way you look at it though, the Super 8s still offers every single Club within the Super League the chance to keep their status but this time through their performances on the pitch.

“The fact that it also offers 4 Championship Clubs a shot at glory at the same time is surely a bonus that should be embraced as a way of driving up standards at the elite end of the sport.

“It’s also a great way to attract investment. Look at Toronto. They have bought into this whole process in the knowledge that they would have a decent chance to go from League 1 to Super League in just 3 years. If that’s achieved it will be a hugely positive story we can all use to entice new stakeholders and sponsors.

“For those relegated they will also still have a really good chance of an immediate return as Hull KR proved last year. Moving to a one up one down system to me would inevitably lead to the return of “boom and bust” as Clubs go all out to try and procure that single exclusive spot.

“Sorry, but we’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and it’s not a place I think our sport should be rushing back to anytime soon.

“The second core principle in this argument is of course Super League’s desire to own and control its own destiny.

“That leads me to consider our own Club History. Here at Hunslet of course we were denied entry to the promised land back in 1999 when we won the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final in only the second year of the Super League era.

“The argument was based solely around our ground not meeting the right standards. It was pretty galling at the time as a number of existing Super League grounds didn’t meet the criteria either. Other Clubs both before and after us, notably Keighley and Dewsbury, were similarly ostracised.

“I mention this because my worry would be that allowing Super League control of their own competition would inevitably lead to the return of such unfair practices that would allow them the final say on who gets to sit at the top table.

“The only way to avoid that type of unjust control is to keep the sport under the independent control of the RFL. Promotion and relegation is without doubt the lifeblood of British sport.

“Given the position we find ourselves in I’m also supportive of a “root and branch” review of the whole sport. Wouldn’t it be fantastic for example if we had a whole game pyramid system? Surely that would increase interest in the sport at all levels and provide the most effective player pathway platform?

“For now though I think it’s time to call an end to the open hostility and bickering in the media and get everybody back round the table to discuss things openly and honestly otherwise we’ll never move forward.

“We definitely don’t want to see a split similar to that of 1895 and believe me I don’t think that’s completely out of the question if things start to go pear shaped here.

“We need to be a lot smarter as a sport and make sure that the column inches we get in the press promote, rather than denigrate, our game.

“One can only imagine how this looks to our major paymasters at Sky who must be rubbing their hands with glee at the possibility of getting a new TV deal at cut price whilst the sport implodes in a never ending round of internal bickering.

“All anyone asks is a fair deal for all Clubs that will help us all to promote and grow the greatest game.

“We are after all called Rugby League not Super League and we would all do well to remember that.


"Nihil sine Deo" "We've Swept The Seas Before Boys, & So We Shall Again" "More than a club"

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19 minutes ago, nadera78 said:

If you want to pretend that Sky are paying £16.4million to show 30 C/L1 games over the life of the contract then fine, do that. But it's nonsense. In 20 years no-one has ever paid a penny for those TV rights.

I don’t presume to pretend anything. If you have a problem with the figures, and believe someone is lying, go take them up with those who announced them. 

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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.

Bury your memories; bury your friends. Leave it alone for a year or two.  Till the stories grow hazy, and the legends come true.  Then do it again - some things never end.

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34 minutes ago, Bulliac said:

Today, with home and away fixtures against every other club in its division, the need for play-off games simply shouldn’t exist – except as a money spinner, both for the clubs and Sky.

Not true, play-off systems, they are that bad that the FA adopted them, are there to maintain interest and focus for the clubs who are mid-table for as long as possible.

The problem without the system is once  a couple of front runners take a good lead in the league the pack stop chasing and games become meaningless apart from one or two who are involved in a relegation battle, but that tends to fizzle out more often than not and is rarely a do or die last game afair. This is why when the clubs formed divisions they decided to keep running with a play-off format at the end of season (as well as the income it generates that is).


Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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2 minutes ago, Bulliac said:

The play offs devalue the league matches; the 'big games' are no longer quite so important since, "well what does it matter we'll probably/hopefully win the play-off", so why bother attending the league games? Attendances certainly aren't going up.

My view is that it was better when the champions were the top of the league and the play-offs were a separate competition, you are, of course , perfectly free to disagree. 

I personally think the amount of times we play the same teams devalues the league games far more, the 8 split system doesn't help either.

For it to be top of the league are champions system it needs to be teams playing each other team home and away and that's it.

The other issue I have with top of the league are champions is the season can be over and champions decided way before the end of the season, there one way to guarantee a whole host of devalued games right there.

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26 minutes ago, nadera78 said:

If you want to pretend that Sky are paying £16.4million to show 30 C/L1 games over the life of the contract then fine, do that. But it's nonsense. In 20 years no-one has ever paid a penny for those TV rights.

There you go Nadders, the breakdown from those figures related to earlier and why the money was propotioned:-

 Sky Sports will broadcast 71 Super League games per season, 17 Championship games and one Championship one game, while they will also broadcast eleven Challenge Cup games.

If you believe that information to be false or know better, please correct.

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1 minute ago, Chrispmartha said:

I personally think the amount of times we play the same teams devalues the league games far more, the 8 split system doesn't help either.

For it to be top of the league are champions system it needs to be teams playing each other team home and away and that's it.

The other issue I have with top of the league are champions is the season can be over and champions decided way before the end of the season, there one way to guarantee a whole host of devalued games right there.

Oh indeed. I remember playing Leeds five times per season more than once when in SL, and I'd suspect that Wigan and Saints would have done the same, few things devalue "big games" more than constant repetition.

To be fair, we play to whatever system is devised, whether that be play-offs or first past the post, but it always feels very false to me to be called "champions" when you weren't even good enough to be top of the league. We've both won and lost the crown on that premise so I can see it from both sides.


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4 minutes ago, Bulliac said:

but it always feels very false to me to be called "champions" when you weren't even good enough to be top of the league. 

The problem I have with this is how do you know that the team that won the GF to become champions would have played the same throughout the year if top of the league was the champions.

 

for example when Leeds won from 5th the played to the system as it was accepted at the start of the season. If at the beginning of the season it was known that  top of the league was to decide champions they would have played according to that.

Edited by Chrispmartha

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1 hour ago, Toby Chopra said:

I agree, but because this is something that should actually be aspired to, not just done as a desperate last resort. 

The FA doesn't negotiate Championship/L1/L2 TV deals, or organise the competitions. The EFL does it itself on behalf of its members. And a great job it does to, recently signed a £600 mln TV deal of its own. 

Indeed. Although I guess the lower league clubs always assumed, probably correctly and understandably, that the RFL was the representative and negotiating body for the whole game, so they had no need to? Although others might term that an abdication of responsibility, I guess?

Now it has become clear the RFL is largely powerless, and the SL clubs have effectively declared UDI, they need to try and strike some unity of purpose and put their own structure in place urgently. Since if they do not hang together, they will sure as hell hang separately. 

But what chances of that? Especially since aspiring SL clubs - and certainly ones with any realistic potential - may have a very different agenda to the rest? Something the cabal will be quite aware of, I am sure, if/when they seek to divide the opposition.

The independent SL genie is now out of the bottle, and I can see no way of it ever now going back. The RFL looks to have permanently lost control. And, given how poorly the RFL - or, more to the point, the second-raters charged with running it in recent years - has performed in developing and promoting the game, something needed to happen. Time I guess will tell whether this coup saves the game, or wrecks it. It has potential to do both. Probably the former, if it leads to opening up and widening out SL to include new entrants with money and potential and ideas; probably the latter, if it becomes just a cover for protecting the existing SL clubs from relegation or challenge. IMO.  

But the non-SL clubs will have to quickly decide how to deal with the new reality, since they hold only limited cards, and stand to lose the most from it. As the statements so far make all too clear.

Edited by Adeybull
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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.

Bury your memories; bury your friends. Leave it alone for a year or two.  Till the stories grow hazy, and the legends come true.  Then do it again - some things never end.

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1 hour ago, Harry Stottle said:

This bit got me most,

With all due respect David, did you have any expierience or have any now apart from the TV of the Champioship both in the days it employed a GF and in comparrison to the middle 8's.

 As a fan who has vast expierience of both, the 8's wins hands down with the interest it delivers, for those involved it has improved every year since its inception and who knows how much more it would have improved.

To me your statement is made to back up your own argument, it has no subdtance to it whatsoever.

 

Harry, I suggest you try reading the posts. I like the 8's, so the point certainly isn't made up to support my own argument. People need to stop making things so black and white, it is boring.

I made the point that the 8s has been good for the Championship teams, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is the best thing for the game as a whole.

And whilst the crowds were revitalised for some ofthe middle 8 games at championship grounds, how did they hold up in the lower 8's of the championship when they were playing for nothing?

The main commercial success (based on memory) looks like being the small number of middle 8 games staged by Champ clubs versus SL clubs. The top 8 and Champ lower 8 have not been deemed a success and the SL hosted games versus champ clubs had modest crowds too.

I believe that the Championship can be a success under this proposed format, and so can SL.

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52 minutes ago, POR said:

in the beginning yes when it was a level playing field but teams relegated with sky money kept super league squads went straight back up it became a farce

I think there is a fair point about parachute payments etc. but these things are not problems we cannot overcome with a bit of thought. Aren't Leigh operating with a parachute payment this year?

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