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Shane Richardson Calls for Overhaul of British Rugby League


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1 minute ago, westlondonfan said:

The reason for the feeling of pessimism in the game amongst some fans in my view is what happened to Toronto Wolfpack. 

and some others will be Thursday games, some others the same clubs collecting the pots, some others admission charges, some others COVID related, some others the player drain to NRL, some others the lack of Internationals etc etc

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1 minute ago, sweaty craiq said:

and some others will be Thursday games, some others the same clubs collecting the pots, some others admission charges, some others COVID related, some others the player drain to NRL, some others the lack of Internationals etc etc

The lack of internationals is a big disappointment to me . The Four Nations was developing nicely with the fourth team being surprisingly competitive and then they scrapped it. 

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18 hours ago, Hull Kingston Bronco said:

Sorry mate, but I’ve lived in Sydney for 4 years and been to clubs across the country - they are operating entirely at another level, which brings with it a resilience we can only dream of. Big, elite hitters invest in plugging their clubs losses because they want to ride the fun bus… we scrabble around to find a local mid-level businessman to save us from death. Quite the difference! 

Major corporates and global players want their name/brand associated with the best. In Australia that means NRL in the 2 big states. In the UK Soccer swallows up most then RU then Cricket grabs a bit, we are left with whatever is left or a true RL man made good eg Fred Done or Ken Davey. When we get some new upstart we drive them away as the mob lights their torches and prepares the rope.

RL fans, the media still left and the clueless leadership are the biggest threats to our sport.

Edited by sweaty craiq
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4 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Definitely not. Most people could see what was happening and what was going to happen to them having been a Rugby League fan for a long time. The pessimism is deeper ingrained into Rugby League than Toronto Wolfpack. 

I was disappointed in the post Lewis era with what happened to Wales and London, etc but although i was very sceptical at first i had started to think Toronto really were going to make it as a big SL club. I was very disappointed. It wasn’t a unanimous decision either with some of the most successful clubs voting to keep them in. I hope Toulouse go up and are successful if we dont go up but when will RL get another opportunity like Toronto again? Possibly never.

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1 hour ago, Saint Toppy said:

Lets face it, RFL Administration after administration have done a pretty poor job of things

This is repeated so often that it's frankly starting to get a bit lazy.

Perhaps, just maybe, Rugby League is a really difficult sport to administer?

I'm not saying they do everything right by any means, few sports could say that, but RL has such a lot of really specific, almost unique challenges that a lot of the time there simply isn't a good, right answer to lots of them.

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22 minutes ago, M j M said:

This is repeated so often that it's frankly starting to get a bit lazy.

Perhaps, just maybe, Rugby League is a really difficult sport to administer?

I'm not saying they do everything right by any means, few sports could say that, but RL has such a lot of really specific, almost unique challenges that a lot of the time there simply isn't a good, right answer to lots of them.

The NRL may not be perfect but they're a damn sight better with their administration than the RFL are and over the years they've faced similar challenges.

Things like sponsorship, broadcasting rights, Marketing are all light years ahead of where the British game is. To me that just shows that we don't have the people running the game in this country with the right skill sets or abilities.

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8 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

The NRL may not be perfect but they're a damn sight better with their administration than the RFL are and over the years they've faced similar challenges.

Things like sponsorship, broadcasting rights, Marketing are all light years ahead of where the British game is. To me that just shows that we don't have the people running the game in this country with the right skill sets or abilities.

Or maybe the demographics are just totally different in both hemispheres.

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Interesting that Premiership Rugby have just announced their post Covid recovery plan,scrap relegation for 3 yrs & increase the number of clubs by 2 over the next 2 years.

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15 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

The NRL may not be perfect but they're a damn sight better with their administration than the RFL are and over the years they've faced similar challenges.

Things like sponsorship, broadcasting rights, Marketing are all light years ahead of where the British game is. To me that just shows that we don't have the people running the game in this country with the right skill sets or abilities.

To me it is holding British Rugby League to a ridiculous standard. The dempgraphics, geography, sporting and financial landscapes are so completely different between the two places that British Rugby League is always going to fail if measured by this absurd metric - and the NRL administrators would likely not have the first clue where to start when getting invovled in British Rugby League (as Greg McCallum and Richardson himself found out when they worked over here).

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For a better RL administration you need better people, to get better people whether that's pure administration or marketing prowess you need to pay the going rate to attract the better if not the best people.

If we offered those sort of salaries that would make a big difference as to how the sport was ultimately run this forum would be full of commentators bemoaning how much was being paid.

It doesn't need PE to be able to create a big enough pot to attract a much better and effective marketing organisation that would make a big difference in the mid term - by marketing organisation I mean all the types of marketing roles needed not what most talk about on here as in advertising.

It ain't rocket science for a capable CEO to put a good organisation into place,,, he needs of course to be capable and have the funds to build a first or better class organisation.

The problem is the sport tries to do things on the cheap, maybe because it ain't got the money but in the short term its about priorities. That is seeing that ring fencing a reasonable amount of budget would enable you to improve in the mid term.  Mind you we have a fan demographic that is unable to cope with the level of pay that's needed to attract the best into the RFL organisation and not least the marketing organisation. 

I guess in the business parlance we are not marketing led but I guess administration led.

 

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2 hours ago, Saint Toppy said:

Lets face it, RFL Administration after administration have done a pretty poor job of things so something has to change. They may be individual instead of team sports but they still have a proven track record of success, more than we currently have in the game.  

Track record of success in a totally different type of sport , it's like asking Steve Redgrave to come and coach the England RL team 

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2 hours ago, westlondonfan said:

I was disappointed in the post Lewis era with what happened to Wales and London, etc but although i was very sceptical at first i had started to think Toronto really were going to make it as a big SL club. I was very disappointed. It wasn’t a unanimous decision either with some of the most successful clubs voting to keep them in. I hope Toulouse go up and are successful if we don'tgo up but when will RL get another opportunity like Toronto again? Possibly never.

What happened to Toronto was a disgrace.  Sure there were some big problems (Covid, etc) but the funding that was denied and generally the lack of co operation, actually putting barriers in place to the new club, was a tragedy of the highest order.   This could have been handled and been successful but the various players in the drama (especially SL clubs and Elstone) failed the game.

Good news...things are opening up again.  Toronto is certainly viable in the future.  The pause for Covid affected all sports to varying degrees and the general sporting public has developed a certain tolerance for slow reopenings etc.   If SL and the RFL had their acts together this is still a saveable situation and actually a winner still if handled professionally.  

Its like a sad tragedy really...

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35 minutes ago, redjonn said:

For a better RL administration you need better people, to get better people whether that's pure administration or marketing prowess you need to pay the going rate to attract the better if not the best people.

If we offered those sort of salaries that would make a big difference as to how the sport was ultimately run this forum would be full of commentators bemoaning how much was being paid.

 

I genuinely don't think this is the case. I've seen lots of people in business who have been brought in with very large salaries who haven't the first clue what their doing because they don't understand the nature of the business or are very competent at things which end up being almost irrelevant to their new place.

That's not to say they're not smart, although they often come with an over-inflated sense of their abilities.

Rugby League is almost a textbook case of that. The sport itself is almost unique and many of the challenges it faces are pretty unique as well. Someone who has been very successful at running the FA or the RFU, unless they are pragmatic types (see Richard Lewis) would probably not know where to start in running a highly regional sport with very localised interest, media coverage and supporter base.

The head of the RFL ideally needs someone who has a deep understanding of Rugby League allied to some time away from the sport where they have broadened their horizons and knowledge.

In that case, Elstone was very much the right profile. Where he was in trouble was his lack of power - he was the face of a breakaway rump of larger clubs and wasn't even given the proper authority to run Super League, never mind a game-wide remit.

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1 hour ago, GUBRATS said:

Track record of success in a totally different type of sport , it's like asking Steve Redgrave to come and coach the England RL team 

Hmm so what your saying is people with good management skill aren't able to translate those across other sports.

Seem to remember former England Union head coach Clive Woodward being pretty successful as the director of elite performance for the British Olympics team. They don't come much different than moving from Union to Athletics.

Besides which Matchroom has already proved their success across 3 completely different sports with Snooker, Darts and Boxing

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1 hour ago, Saint Toppy said:

Seem to remember former England Union head coach Clive Woodward being pretty successful as the director of elite performance for the British Olympics team. They don't come much different than moving from Union to Athletics.

 

Performance and coaching roles are utterly different to administrative roles.

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44 minutes ago, M j M said:

Performance and coaching roles are utterly different to administrative roles.

Nobody is claiming they are. I was responding to Gubrats who was claiming Matchroom wouldn't be able to replicate in RL what they've done in other sports and then made some reference about an Olympic rower trying to coach a RL team.

Matchroom have sucessfully managed to transform 2 sports (snooker & darts) from pub & working mens club games into national sports drawing large TV audiences & TV deals and capacity event spectator numbers. They've drawn in big name sponsors & the revenues that go with them to both these sports.

They've also shown they are a big player in an already global sport such as boxing, negotiating contracts, TV deals and whole events. 

Isn't this exactly what RL and indeed many fans have been calling for.

Just because they have no prior RL management doesn't mean they can't deliver many of the things the sport desperately needs, things the current and past administrations have so far failed to deliver. As far as I know Hearn had no prior experience in either darts or snooker before they came in ? 

They would bring a global knowledge & experience of sports marketing, contracts and television to our game that lets be honest is dying a slow death with major failings in all those areas. 

Our last couple of TV deal negotiations have been farcical resulting in the RFL just rolling over to get their belly tickled by Sky and accepting whatever they wanted to offer them. And some of the sponsorship deals in the past have been no better (Stobart freebe anyone).

RL Administration is like the definition of insanity - Keep doing exactly what you've always done while expecting a different outcome. The game needs a fundamental change, and that starts with the people at the top running it.

Edited by Saint Toppy
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1 hour ago, Saint Toppy said:

Hmm so what your saying is people with good management skill aren't able to translate those across other sports.

Seem to remember former England Union head coach Clive Woodward being pretty successful as the director of elite performance for the British Olympics team. They don't come much different than moving from Union to Athletics.

Besides which Matchroom has already proved their success across 3 completely different sports with Snooker, Darts and Boxing

You've missed the point , going from a team sport where athletic ability is paramount to a singular sport ( one where the opposition isn't trying to beat the ###### out of you ) where athletic ability is paramount is doable , try it the other way , where somebody who has spent a career building just their own body and mind , to then have to get 20/30 others to perform as a team , coach tactics , deal with lots of different personalities ( both on and off the pitch ) and see where it gets you 

Yes there are instants where successful individuals have provided their experience ( usually mentally ) to sports teams , but the 2 things are very different 

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16 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

You've missed the point , going from a team sport where athletic ability is paramount to a singular sport ( one where the opposition isn't trying to beat the ###### out of you ) where athletic ability is paramount is doable , try it the other way , where somebody who has spent a career building just their own body and mind , to then have to get 20/30 others to perform as a team , coach tactics , deal with lots of different personalities ( both on and off the pitch ) and see where it gets you 

Yes there are instants where successful individuals have provided their experience ( usually mentally ) to sports teams , but the 2 things are very different 

What has that go to do with anything in relation to matchroom and RL ? We're not asking them to come in and be coaches or referee's, they would be coming in to replicate much of what they have achieved in other sports such as darts & snooker. Their experience is in transforming struggling sports into ones with a national (if not global) presence, bringing in increased sponsorships, improved TV deals & media coverage, increasing spectator numbers.

They've already done that in 2 sports, neither of which they had any previous experience in, plus they've built a global presence in the sport of boxing along side the big guns of promotion such as King.

Who within the current RL hierarchy has managed anything remotely like this ?

 

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People have sneered at the notion on here, but there are a lot of similarities between Rugby League and Scottish football (if you remove the 2 massive Glasgow clubs which dwarf anything in Rugby League).

However, regional constraints, similar population across their regions, similarities in broadcast deals, far bigger competitor right next door who can steal their players, "minor league" feel to it, etc etc.... The sports have a lot in common.

People who doubt Matchroom could make a difference in Rugby League should read this account of Barry Hearn's speech to the SFA conference in 2014. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearn-stuns-sfa-attack-scottish-football-1519154%3famp

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5 hours ago, M j M said:

I genuinely don't think this is the case. I've seen lots of people in business who have been brought in with very large salaries who haven't the first clue what their doing because they don't understand the nature of the business or are very competent at things which end up being almost irrelevant to their new place.

That's not to say they're not smart, although they often come with an over-inflated sense of their abilities.

Rugby League is almost a textbook case of that. The sport itself is almost unique and many of the challenges it faces are pretty unique as well. Someone who has been very successful at running the FA or the RFU, unless they are pragmatic types (see Richard Lewis) would probably not know where to start in running a highly regional sport with very localised interest, media coverage and supporter base.

The head of the RFL ideally needs someone who has a deep understanding of Rugby League allied to some time away from the sport where they have broadened their horizons and knowledge.

In that case, Elstone was very much the right profile. Where he was in trouble was his lack of power - he was the face of a breakaway rump of larger clubs and wasn't even given the proper authority to run Super League, never mind a game-wide remit.

Is rugby league really that unique? Are the demographics that unique? Do other sports not try and appeal to the same audiences and demographics, in the same areas, that we do?

Businesses, organisations and even sports pivot all the time to reflect societal changes, changing markets, changing technologies and changing tastes. Rugby league isn't really different in that respect and nor should it think it is, or that it is entitled to be. 

Contrary to popular belief, the north of England is more than just depressed little ex-pit and mill towns full of low-paid employment. We have vibrant cities, many of those ex-pit towns are now commuter towns for those cities, we have young, educated people working in new, well-paying industries that didn't even exist 20 years ago (and a side-effect of COVID is that our towns and cities may benefit from the growth of remote working). There is a lot of affluence and a lot of disposable income residing right in the heart of RL-land which RL isn't doing enough to demand a share of. 

The game has access to new media channels that other sports are using much more effectively than RL clubs are - the sport can bypass the traditional media (and the biases - percieved or otherwise - that they have) entirely and reach the sport's target audiences directly. 

There are also changing factors that arguably work against RL, which the game can't really ignore. Many heartland towns are much more ethnically and culturally diverse than they once were. There is also a much more competitive leisure and entertainment market and, particularly for younger audiences, we're competing with digital entertainment - internet connected games consoles have become social networks in their own right. But those problems aren't unique to RL either. Can the game afford to ignore that? 

I'd agree that anyone running this sport needs to understand what rugby league is but perhaps more importantly, they should have an understanding of what rugby league could be and wants to be - what audiences they want to have watching, playing and buying this sport in three years time, five years time and ten years time. It's the second part of that equation that is completely missing. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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Without wishing to detract from the genuine success story of the Matchroom team or even worse suggest that the NRL is not actually the greatest sporting organisation on the planet, I would just like to point out that the sponsors of the World Snooker Championship are Betfred  (ever heard of them?) and the darts has the William Hill banner (RL had Corals).

To compare Australian Rugby League with the game anywhere else in the world is a ridiculous notion. Aussies don't have to compete at the top level with the richest and biggest sport in the world on their doorstep.  Surely the state of the game in London is evidence enough that RL has peaked in the caital - opening with a 9,000-plus crowd in 1980 to 240 in 2021. And what is wrong with being a niche sport.  We RL fans are world beaters at beating ourselves up.

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I can assure everyone from a sponsorship and marketing point of view that a vibrant London Broncos and Toulouse would make a huge difference in terms of revenue streams.

* SL needs to bite the bullet and sadly 2 teams have to go and be replaced with the above + a TOTAL REBRAND 

* The door needs to be kept wide open for ambitious clubs (Maybe conferences down the line)

* At least 6 internationals a year with a minimum of 2 in London and in other development areas

* Long term development plan and support for traditional areas I would target London/Newcastle/Coventry/Wales and look to reinvent the sport in places like Oldham/Rochdale/Manchester/Cumbria

* Kangaroo and Kiwi tests back on a regular basis 

* France International with Toulouse in SL and Trent Robinson involved the gap WILL narrow for certain

Paul

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3 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Contrary to popular belief, the north of England is more than just depressed little ex-pit and mill towns full of low-paid employment. We have vibrant cities, many of those ex-pit towns are now commuter towns for those cities, we have young, educated people working in new, well-paying industries that didn't even exist 20 years ago (and a side-effect of COVID is that our towns and cities may benefit from the growth of remote working). There is a lot of affluence and a lot of disposable income residing right in the heart of RL-land which RL isn't doing enough to demand a share of. 

A million times this. The RL heartland is sited in a populous location in and around prosperous towns and cities with great motorway links. 

I feel some RL fans have a slight shame in it being overwhelmingly a Northern sport played by Northerners and watched by Northerners. I feel it should be a source of Northern pride, like the Beatles and other bands, steel, railways, Yorkshire Tea, Pontefract cakes, Timothy Taylor’s etc etc. 

In any case, look at the ‘ex-pit and mill towns’ that have biggish football clubs like Burnley, Blackburn, and Barnsley. It’s no hindrance to attracting decent crowds. 

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