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Shane Richardson Calls for Overhaul of British Rugby League


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i reckon the answer lies in creating an east, west, south and Euro SL conference system with 8 clubs in each and then having a Super Bowl style semis and final between the winners of the four conferences.

Edited by Sports Prophet
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19 hours ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

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

 

As in keeping P&R?

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20 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

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. 

Post Richard Lewis, there has never been any sense that the people running the game have much of a vision for what future they're aiming for.  It's all tactical, week by week bodges to sort out this situation that's cropped up, or get out of this financial mess. Not a hint of a strategy around how to get more people playing the full version of the sport, how to get more people playing modified versions, how to get more volunteers, how to get more bums on seats, how to deal with the aging nature of support at some clubs, how to attract more tv viewers, how to get more and bigger sponsors. Promotion/relegation, league structure, play-offs and such like barely move the dial on any of these things.

There's been plenty of Aussie administrators worked here (and quite a few who've gone the other way too). I don't think there's actually much to learn from the NRL in terms of admin - it's quite clear that what works in Australia wouldn't work here. NRL clubs don't have soccer teams like Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City all with annual revenues over the billion Aussie dollar mark within a few miles. We have to find a niche and fight for any media coverage - utterly different situation compared with Sydney or Brisbane.

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6 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

i reckon the answer lies in creating an east, west, south and Euro SL conference system with 8 clubs in each and then having a Super Bowl style semis and final between the winners of the four conferences.

Sorry, but I really don't think this would be the answer to anything.

Assuming you would be using existing professional/semi-pro clubs for these conferences - Because we have all seen that dropping professional clubs into locations with no existing foundation doesn't work in British/European RL. You would be looking at something like this:

East

Hull FC, Hull KR, Castleford, Featherstone, Wakefield, Leeds, Dewsbury, York

West

St Helens, Wigan, Leigh, Salford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford, Batley

South

London Broncos, London Skolars, West Wales, North Wales, Coventry, Warrington, Sheffield, Widnes

Euro

Catalans, Toulouse, Carcassonne, Lezignan, Limoux, Avignon, Villeneuve, Albi

 

The south and Euro conferences contain some (currently) very weak teams in comparison to existing Super League teams, and the south conference would have to come as far north as Warrington. It would exclude better teams and include weaker ones to try to get geographical balance, but still wouldn't get the desired balance.

If nothing else, if spread out across all 32 teams, the playing strength would be spread too thin, negatively impacting the standard. Consider that in the British pro/semi-pro system there are 36 clubs over three tiers. That means that some players currently playing for weaker third level clubs would be in the squads for these 'Super League' teams under your system.

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2 hours ago, JonM said:

Post Richard Lewis, there has never been any sense that the people running the game have much of a vision for what future they're aiming for.  It's all tactical, week by week bodges to sort out this situation that's cropped up, or get out of this financial mess. Not a hint of a strategy around how to get more people playing the full version of the sport, how to get more people playing modified versions, how to get more volunteers, how to get more bums on seats, how to deal with the aging nature of support at some clubs, how to attract more tv viewers, how to get more and bigger sponsors. Promotion/relegation, league structure, play-offs and such like barely move the dial on any of these things.

There's been plenty of Aussie administrators worked here (and quite a few who've gone the other way too). I don't think there's actually much to learn from the NRL in terms of admin - it's quite clear that what works in Australia wouldn't work here. NRL clubs don't have soccer teams like Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City all with annual revenues over the billion Aussie dollar mark within a few miles. We have to find a niche and fight for any media coverage - utterly different situation compared with Sydney or Brisbane.

I think people get hung up on any comment about "what other sports do" and dismiss it as "we can't be like [insert sport here]". The aim should not be to be like [insert sport here] but to instead, look at what lots of different sports do to address lots of different challenges - all of which they have in common with rugby league (which is why I really don't understand the "we're a unique sport" argument).

So look at what we can learn from cricket - a sport which identified a problem with ageing audiences, and made changes to appeal to new, younger audiences. 

Look at what we can learn from darts about making our events much more of a spectacle for TV and occasions that sell-out well in advance (and often without going on general sale). 

Look at what we can learn from the NBA, which used social media to arrest a decline in TV viewership - particularly amongst younger demographics. 

Look at what we can learn from American football about going to new markets and geographical expansion (the NFL started as a very regional competition). 

Look at how British Triathlon and British Cycling took advantage of the profile of well-known athletes who were thrust into the spotlight to reverse falling participation, increase sponsorship and increase funding. 

Look at how football has used digital media to engage young audiences that have likely been priced-out of matchday attendance. Also look at how football has heavily promoted 5/7-a-side as a more accessible way to play the game. 

Look at what we can learn from "second clubs" in other sports, such as Everton, who have managed to address a problem of filling empty seats when they're competing against more successful competitors who offer better facilities and are, for the most part, competing for the same audiences in an area with higher-than-average levels of deprivation.   

Can we copy and mimmick everything that each of those sports did to address those issues? No. Some of them aren't workable and some of them aren't affordable, but the point is that we can still learn from them and find our own solutions to the problems that RL very much has/had in common with each of those sports - they're certainly not unique issues. 

It all comes down to that 'a' word - who are the audiences that this sports want to reach? It's all well and good going for the low-hanging fruit but, once you've picked everything from the low branches, you're going to be looking around wondering why nobody spent some time building a ladder to get the fruit that's higher up. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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I agree that the NRL have a totally different set of problems to the UK market, but nobody can deny that the sport in this country needs seriously looked at, and overhauled 'where necessary' before it seriously implodes!

I've been posting at regular intervals on the Community Board page lately about the proposed 'Active League membership charges' which will be 'imposed' on the wider community game next year without any meaningful consultation with the RFL's own member clubs. This is yet another own goal on the part of the RFL heirarchy.

When questions were raised, I was told in no uncertain terms that 'the RFL employs experts' to look after the game; well of that's the case why is the game in such a state from top top bottom? 

The decision by the Super League clubs to move away from the RFL caused irreparable damage to the RFL both in reputation and financial terms. The fact that the Super League clubs are now looking to return to the RFL with their tail between their legs speaks volumes !

It would be easier to list the RFL successes than their shortcomings of recent years as it is a fairly short list in my opinion! 

The game is in freefall and I don't have confidence in anyone at the RFL (including Super League clubs) to stop the rot.

I've watched rugby league for over 40 years, but I rarely finish a Super League game these days, the standard of rugby in the main is rubbish, not helped by the quality of presenters on Sky, thankfully the NRL still serve up a decent competition on a Saturday morning that I can enjoy.

As I see it, we have a diminishing professional competition that despite years of Academy investment isn't producing players of a high enough calibre to sustain the number of sides at that level - FAILURE

We have a number of sides at all levels of the professional game who wouldn't survive without the handouts from the RFL; the same organisation who then want to charge the amateurs for the privilege of playing the sport !! - FAILURE

A Great Britain - England team that will struggle to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup despite being one of the major playing nations - FAILURE

Proposed membership fees to community clubs which will see a reduction in playing numbers - FAILURE

Unable to negotiate a TV deal as good as the previous deal - FAILURE

The RFL are apparently publishing their next 5 year development plan, but who has been involved in aforementioned publication? 

Has anyone been consulted, opinions sought?
How can you develop a plan without highlighting all the issues which currently blight the game's progression?

 

It just doesn't make any sense !

I don't have all the answers, but I don't think the RFL do either !!

 

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21 minutes ago, Death to the Rah Rah's said:

I agree that the NRL have a totally different set of problems to the UK market, but nobody can deny that the sport in this country needs seriously looked at, and overhauled 'where necessary' before it seriously implodes!

I've been posting at regular intervals on the Community Board page lately about the proposed 'Active League membership charges' which will be 'imposed' on the wider community game next year without any meaningful consultation with the RFL's own member clubs. This is yet another own goal on the part of the RFL heirarchy.

When questions were raised, I was told in no uncertain terms that 'the RFL employs experts' to look after the game; well of that's the case why is the game in such a state from top top bottom? 

The decision by the Super League clubs to move away from the RFL caused irreparable damage to the RFL both in reputation and financial terms. The fact that the Super League clubs are now looking to return to the RFL with their tail between their legs speaks volumes !

It would be easier to list the RFL successes than their shortcomings of recent years as it is a fairly short list in my opinion! 

The game is in freefall and I don't have confidence in anyone at the RFL (including Super League clubs) to stop the rot.

I've watched rugby league for over 40 years, but I rarely finish a Super League game these days, the standard of rugby in the main is rubbish, not helped by the quality of presenters on Sky, thankfully the NRL still serve up a decent competition on a Saturday morning that I can enjoy.

As I see it, we have a diminishing professional competition that despite years of Academy investment isn't producing players of a high enough calibre to sustain the number of sides at that level - FAILURE

We have a number of sides at all levels of the professional game who wouldn't survive without the handouts from the RFL; the same organisation who then want to charge the amateurs for the privilege of playing the sport !! - FAILURE

A Great Britain - England team that will struggle to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup despite being one of the major playing nations - FAILURE

Proposed membership fees to community clubs which will see a reduction in playing numbers - FAILURE

Unable to negotiate a TV deal as good as the previous deal - FAILURE

The RFL are apparently publishing their next 5 year development plan, but who has been involved in aforementioned publication? 

Has anyone been consulted, opinions sought?
How can you develop a plan without highlighting all the issues which currently blight the game's progression?

 

It just doesn't make any sense !

I don't have all the answers, but I don't think the RFL do either !!

 

You make fair points, but I do not see why amateur clubs should not pay a fee for benefits of being part of the RFL.   You could argue there are not any benefits of course, but I do not think that is fair.

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On 26/06/2021 at 10:50, DavidM said:

Tell his mates down there that coming to a successful World Cup might help a little bit 

We had a successful World Cup a few years back and nothing changed. Why would this be any different? Will merely paper over the cracks again.....

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30 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

You make fair points, but I do not see why amateur clubs should not pay a fee for benefits of being part of the RFL.   You could argue there are not any benefits of course, but I do not think that is fair.

why should the amateurs pay when the professionals receive handouts?

if anything, it should be the community game that gets the financial aid to help with their (very small) running costs which are mainly admin fees to cover registrations etc. as most leagues have their own voluntary management committees

I'm still waiting to see what the 'benefits' are for the active membership 'tax' - no doubt it will be cut price tickets to the challenge cup that never comes close to selling out or other similar events !

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1 hour ago, Death to the Rah Rah's said:

A "Great Britain - England" team that has no identity, and that doesn't even know it's own name,  will struggle to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup despite being one of the major playing Nations - LAUGHABLE FAILURE

 

On point with this one. I added a wee bit for you.

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think people get hung up on any comment about "what other sports do" and dismiss it as "we can't be like [insert sport here]". The aim should not be to be like [insert sport here] but to instead, look at what lots of different sports do to address lots of different challenges - all of which they have in common with rugby league (which is why I really don't understand the "we're a unique sport" argument).

So look at what we can learn from cricket - a sport which identified a problem with ageing audiences, and made changes to appeal to new, younger audiences. 

Look at what we can learn from darts about making our events much more of a spectacle for TV and occasions that sell-out well in advance (and often without going on general sale). 

Look at what we can learn from the NBA, which used social media to arrest a decline in TV viewership - particularly amongst younger demographics. 

Look at what we can learn from American football about going to new markets and geographical expansion (the NFL started as a very regional competition). 

Look at how British Triathlon and British Cycling took advantage of the profile of well-known athletes who were thrust into the spotlight to reverse falling participation, increase sponsorship and increase funding. 

Look at how football has used digital media to engage young audiences that have likely been priced-out of matchday attendance. Also look at how football has heavily promoted 5/7-a-side as a more accessible way to play the game. 

Look at what we can learn from "second clubs" in other sports, such as Everton, who have managed to address a problem of filling empty seats when they're competing against more successful competitors who offer better facilities and are, for the most part, competing for the same audiences in an area with higher-than-average levels of deprivation.   

Can we copy and mimmick everything that each of those sports did to address those issues? No. Some of them aren't workable and some of them aren't affordable, but the point is that we can still learn from them and find our own solutions to the problems that RL very much has/had in common with each of those sports - they're certainly not unique issues. 

It all comes down to that 'a' word - who are the audiences that this sports want to reach? It's all well and good going for the low-hanging fruit but, once you've picked everything from the low branches, you're going to be looking around wondering why nobody spent some time building a ladder to get the fruit that's higher up. 

Cricket in particular took a leap of faith in signing a TV deal with CH4 which at the time was a complete unknown quantity with them never having broadcast any 'mainstream' sport before. It turned out to be a stroke of genius and now other channels are after their signature

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St.Helens - The Home of Rugby Champions

Saints Men's team - Triple Champions & Double Winners ; Saints Women's team - Treble Winners ; Thatto Heath - National Conference Champions

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3 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

You make fair points, but I do not see why amateur clubs should not pay a fee for benefits of being part of the RFL.   You could argue there are not any benefits of course, but I do not think that is fair.

I could be wrong (somebody please correct me if I am) but I thought the issue here was that the RFL are asking each individual recreational player (or their parents for juniors) to pay the proposed membership charge (to be passed directly to the RFL) in addition to the fees that community clubs already pay to the RFL.

Edited by Barley Mow
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4 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

i reckon the answer lies in creating an east, west, south and Euro SL conference system with 8 clubs in each and then having a Super Bowl style semis and final between the winners of the four conferences.

Could you just briefly talk us through the 8 team "South Conference" please? 

Which teams would line up in Super League South? (Even a rough indication would be fine)

Thanks

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1 hour ago, Rupert Prince said:

You make fair points, but I do not see why amateur clubs should not pay a fee for benefits of being part of the RFL.   You could argue there are not any benefits of course, but I do not think that is fair.

Could you spell out those benefits as I’m sure anyone involved with community clubs would like to know.

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1 hour ago, Saint Toppy said:

Cricket in particular took a leap of faith in signing a TV deal with CH4 which at the time was a complete unknown quantity with them never having broadcast any 'mainstream' sport before. It turned out to be a stroke of genius and now other channels are after their signature

one benefit about Channel 4 is its target audience and its huge success in attracting that younger audience...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 29/06/2021 at 12:36, 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.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The reason the NRL have been a lot more successful than the RFL is in large part due to the fact they eventually fully reunited the game after the Super League war. Something we still have not done in 25 years. They did this by guaranteeing attractive and fair payments and a decent and full say in decisions to stakeholders left on the outside of the top flight through the Queensland RL & the NSWRL. 

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On 30/06/2021 at 14:56, ATLANTISMAN said:

I think we are sadly coming to the end of P and R Pulga.

 

Keeping a P&R slot open is the cheapest and most effective way of preventing a) a rebellion / break away or b) a total collapse of the sport outside of Super League. The alternative is to pay decent and fair sums of money to stakeholders on the outside as per the ARLC support to NSWRL and QRL which the sport in the northern hemisphere clearly can't afford. 

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On 30/06/2021 at 16:10, Rupert Prince said:

You make fair points, but I do not see why amateur clubs should not pay a fee for benefits of being part of the RFL.   You could argue there are not any benefits of course, but I do not think that is fair.

Amateur Clubs should pay, participants, players, referees, coaches, volunteers certainly not. We are supposed to be the sport that anyone with a pair of cheap boots and a gumshield can come and play. 

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1 hour ago, Smudger06 said:

Keeping a P&R slot open is the cheapest and most effective way of preventing a) a rebellion / break away or b) a total collapse of the sport outside of Super League. The alternative is to pay decent and fair sums of money to stakeholders on the outside as per the ARLC support to NSWRL and QRL which the sport in the northern hemisphere clearly can't afford. 

I would have a 2/3 year expansion review open to ALL clubs to apply outside of SL (Which would also include dumping non preforming clubs) This isn't Einstein just needs someone with the balls to implement it.

From a pre marketing point of view there is only room currently for 7 (Max 8 clubs up north) and its not Einstein to work out who they are and one of those 7/8 should be given a timeframe for a new stadium or sadly its goodbye.

Outside these top 8 its London (Under strict conditions) Newcastle Toulouse add on the Dragons and there is your 12.

Be prepared for a part time sport in 3 years folks if serious changes are not implemented.

 

 

 

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Shane Richardson reveals details of proposed British rugby league overhaul | St Helens Reporter

 I been thinking about the ten team idea myself for a while now, better to have ten well funded teams than 12 operating on  a budget. 

Is there any chance of these ideas being implemented.

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11 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Shane Richardson reveals details of proposed British rugby league overhaul | St Helens Reporter

 I been thinking about the ten team idea myself for a while now, better to have ten well funded teams than 12 operating on  a budget. 

Is there any chance of these ideas being implemented.

I haven't followed all of the details of this, but whilst Richardson is often portrayed as a radical thinker - from looking at that link, he sounds anything but.  He proposes P&R from a full time league to a part time league, and proposes teams in London, Wales and the North East. Wasn't he involved in a team from the North East at one stage?

When the Welsh and London team lose games and end up playing in front of 1500 again we then start to wonder why we sacked off the 7k from Cas etc. If we have 10 teams, is he proposing 18 games? Or more loop fixtures?

But hey, Ashes series etc. and a retraction of the number of international teams. 

Yay, sounds ace.

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11 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Shane Richardson reveals details of proposed British rugby league overhaul | St Helens Reporter

 I been thinking about the ten team idea myself for a while now, better to have ten well funded teams than 12 operating on  a budget. 

Is there any chance of these ideas being implemented.

Ten teams would be OK but instead of a double round Robin (18 games) we'd see an increase in loop fixtures. Once you've played twice (home and away) against an opponent the contest is well and truly decided for that year (season) anything else is just stringing fans along for the chance of extra cash to match ups that have already been concluded in peoples minds and therefore lack interest and drag the game down even further in the fans minds as well as the general publics with the sight of less than one quarter full stadiums and un enthusiastic crowds.....

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I'm not sure I understand this:

"Richardson also wants a shake-up of the international game, accusing previous administrators of pouring money into European teams despite 75 per cent of the players coming from the southern hemisphere, an act he describes as “commercial suicide”."

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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