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League Restructure Thread (Merged Threads)


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13 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

...the RFL's current plan for the Challenge Cup is 35 clubs (excluding Toulouse) split into seven Conferences, with matches to be played at the start of the season before the Super League begins...

Community clubs obviously couldn't enter the Challenge Cup this year because of COVID regulations. But are they really planning on ending their participation permanently?

That doesn't strike me as being "the very best for their clubs, players, fans and the whole game", as Ralph Rimmer put it after Friday's meeting.

NB - by permanently, I mean until the next restructuring!

Edited by Barley Mow
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15 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

The problem we have at the moment is that not only can we apparently not create more big clubs, but several of the clubs that already exist in Super League are getting gradually smaller.

Ultimately it's unsustainable and moving to ten Super League clubs will only exacerbate that problem.

But also diluting the model never ends well - ever! There are only probably 150 players at the moment capable of playing at elite level week to week. The rest are making up the numbers and are not SL standard. More dilution will only lead to more top class players earning what they are worth else where (and that won't always be the NRL).

The M62 can't produce any more players than it does with the decline in clubs. So we need them from the NE, France, London, Wales or if the game is rich enough - the NRL. Moving the same chess pieces around is not the answer. We have to identify what will get the game out of this spiral of less income and less quality.

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Having read the suggested plan a couple of time and had a ponder, I quite like the basic idea behind it. What I'd like to see is for people here to take it as a starting point for discussion about how we progress, although I'm probably whistling in the wind here! Another approach on the N. American model would be to have a sort of major league/minor league setup where the minor league clubs are affiliated to major league sides although I suspect that that suggestion will get me burnt at the stake even before Martyn S.

 

 

 

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I really like the idea of conferences as it allows the 'bigger' clubs to play the 'smaller' clubs. Id almost split the game into 2 with SL conferences for 24 or so clubs with the rest in a development competition. 

Crucial elements would be equal funding, clubs can spend x% of revenue above that and critically a path into the SL conferencing.. 

Copy the NFL as much as possible basically  

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14 minutes ago, Scubby said:

So we have to move on and earn cash at the top to feed the game underneath. Spreading the distribution across 20-30 teams like chips at a casino is absolute bonkers thinking

Madness, isn't it.

Imagine if football abandoned P&R and divisions, and split clubs and funding into local conferences, perhaps with a Manchester conference of Manchester United, Manchester City, Salford, Oldham, Rochdale, Wigan, Bolton, Stockport and Macclesfield. 

We'd quickly see attendances, ratings and TV money drop off a cliff. You could hardly design a better way to ruin it.

As you suggest, the top of the game needs to grow its cake to fund (in part) the game beneath - as the Premier League does with the EFL - not Sadler's completely wrong-headed approach that would see the bottom feed off the top and shrink the cake overall.

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3 minutes ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

Having read the suggested plan a couple of time and had a ponder, I quite like the basic idea behind it. What I'd like to see is for people here to take it as a starting point for discussion about how we progress, although I'm probably whistling in the wind here! Another approach on the N. American model would be to have a sort of major league/minor league setup where the minor league clubs are affiliated to major league sides although I suspect that that suggestion will get me burnt at the stake even before Martyn S.

 

 

 

That would make some more sense than Sadler’s established professional sides in the same conference as clubs who would get beat by NCL sides. 

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2 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Madness, isn't it.

Imagine if football abandoned P&R and divisions, and split clubs and funding into local conferences, perhaps with a Manchester conference of Manchester United, Manchester City, Salford, Oldham, Rochdale, Wigan, Bolton, Stockport and Macclesfield. 

We'd quickly see attendances, ratings and TV money drop off a cliff. You could hardly design a better way to ruin it.

As you suggest, the top of the game needs to grow its cake to fund (in part) the game beneath - as the Premier League does with the EFL - not Sadler's completely wrong-headed approach that would see the bottom feed off the top and shrink the cake overall.

I agree.

The reason our biggest clubs are getting smaller is because the competition as a whole is getting small time and the good momentum built up over the previous 15 years has slowed significantly over the past decade.

I don't think that is unconnected to how the other clubs have not grown to come close to matching them in ambition and size and that we have had maybe 3 clubs capable of short term getting more than 6/7k crowds in Super League be involved in the Championship in that time. (Only one of whom, Toronto, have actually played in Super League and they didn't get the chance to play at home in that time).

Saying the solution to Wigan and Leeds struggling to enthuse crowds in the numbers they did a decade ago is to say "here! Play Swinton, Batley and Coventry Bears!" does seem as though it rather misunderstands the problem quite fundamentally.

People want to be part of something getting bigger, not shrinking. Likewise, I'm sure fans of Batley, Leigh, Doncaster, West Wales etc want to play the big clubs because they deserve to be there playing them, not because of some misplaced (and lop-sided) charity.

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Classy Cas propose ...

Lightning Rugby is an eight-a-side game, with 12 men in each club's squad for every game. A minimum of four of those players must be under 21, which enables youngsters to get much-needed development and game-time. By using reserve, academy and first-team players, that would eliminate the risk of clubs going into the community game to fill squads.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/lightning-rugby-castleford-tigers-hundred-21228033

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1 hour ago, Harry Stottle said:

Hi Griff, I was just answering the suggestion that the cap should be raised nothing to do with player performance, there has been loads of threads on these pages that say for the job they do our players do not get paid enough and quite right to, so if the cap is raised the clubs who employ player's will have to raise their salary or they move to someone who will offer more. 

Raising the cap would also encourage more lads to stay in the game, ie those that could then earn more playing than working on a building site. And it might also attract players who might otherwise go to Union, it wouldn’t necessarily just mean the same players get paid more (not that I have an issue with that). 

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5 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

Classy Cas propose ...

Lightning Rugby is an eight-a-side game, with 12 men in each club's squad for every game. A minimum of four of those players must be under 21, which enables youngsters to get much-needed development and game-time. By using reserve, academy and first-team players, that would eliminate the risk of clubs going into the community game to fill squads.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/lightning-rugby-castleford-tigers-hundred-21228033

Is it April Fools Day?

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I see no plan that is both:

- Feasible
- Not terrible

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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22 minutes ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

Having read the suggested plan a couple of time and had a ponder, I quite like the basic idea behind it. What I'd like to see is for people here to take it as a starting point for discussion about how we progress, although I'm probably whistling in the wind here! Another approach on the N. American model would be to have a sort of major league/minor league setup where the minor league clubs are affiliated to major league sides although I suspect that that suggestion will get me burnt at the stake even before Martyn S.

I don't it needs to be called a minor league explicitly.

We already define the amateur leagues as a distinct entity, I don't see why we shouldn't do the same for the Semi-Professional and Full time game? 

Right now the single biggest risk a club can take is going from Semi-Pro to Full Time (the same is true in all sports).

It is this transition which aspiring clubs should be protected from the most, as it is quite likely to have a worse full time team than a semi pro team in the initial transition. Top semi pro players are likely to be better than poor full timers.

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5 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

The reason our biggest clubs are getting smaller is because the competition as a whole is getting small time and the good momentum built up over the previous 15 years has slowed significantly over the past decade.

I don't think that is unconnected to how the other clubs have not grown to come close to matching them in ambition and size and that we have had maybe 3 clubs capable of short term getting more than 6/7k crowds in Super League be involved in the Championship in that time. (Only one of whom, Toronto, have actually played in Super League and they didn't get the chance to play at home in that time).

Agree, and that's why I'm sympathetic to the RFL's proposals because we currently don't have 12 'Super' clubs, let alone 14.

Going to 10, I believe, would spur some Darwinian evolution that creates a highly competitive elite comp with no deadweight.

Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to move forwards.

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47 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

You make a serious point worthy of consideration that on the face of it looks difficult to argue against.

It's worth pointing out, before I start, that the RFL's current plan for the Challenge Cup is 35 clubs (excluding Toulouse) split into seven Conferences, with matches to be played at the start of the season before the Super League begins. So the problem you point out could also occur if that proposal is accepted.

Under my proposed structure, the first five weeks could consist of Super League clubs mainly playing away games against their lower league opponents, which would boost attendances and income for those clubs, with the return fixtures scheduled for later in the season when the bigger clubs may take the opportunity to rest some members of their squad.

In that case I don't think attendances would be affected as badly as you think, but then none of us can really be sure.

How does that plan progress from 7 conferences into a number of teams (presumably 16 or 8 teams) qualifying from that phase to facilitate a knockout phase leading up to a final? Is it the top two of each conference plus the two best third placed teams?; the top team in each plus the best runner up?; or do teams progress to a further group stage from which 2 or 4 teams emerge as in some of the past FIFA World Cups?

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14 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

Classy Cas propose ...

Lightning Rugby is an eight-a-side game, with 12 men in each club's squad for every game. A minimum of four of those players must be under 21, which enables youngsters to get much-needed development and game-time. By using reserve, academy and first-team players, that would eliminate the risk of clubs going into the community game to fill squads.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/lightning-rugby-castleford-tigers-hundred-21228033

8 a side is different for differents sake.

Having a 9s league as the reserve league, or rather the reserve league as a 9s comp, however isn't a bad idea imo

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3 minutes ago, Mumby Magic said:

Anyone else see our sport deteriorate before our eyes. Changing structure for the X amount of times won't work. Messing about with academies won't work. Clubs should be monitored particularly at SL where the money is going. 

I agree with all of that except the last bit, unless you want a centralised American competition (I don’t). I’d rather see the salary cap scrapped to encourage investment. 

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4 hours ago, Dave T said:

What does that actually mean? 

A five team league? 

his mate as I read it says why not concentrate on creating more of those 5 clubs... so not a five team league.

Anyway just using it as a Segue way into the conversation in comparing how our sport limits the financial strong with salary cap and its long term consequences.

For me premiership football over the last couple of decades has had x4 clubs, then x5 now x6 and starting to increase maybe to 8 big clubs... it is those x4, then x5, etc that has created the money windfall that all other clubs benefit from. 

They kept an elitist system that has eventually trickled down monies to all and sundry. Such that all Premiership teams are full of internationals and many championship clubs also. The number of big clubs increasing all-be-it slowly as their financial opportunities increase through the success of the league through those clubs.

We on the other hand curtail the possibility of the more elite as in financially strong clubs capitalising on their clubs finances. In order to have a laughable salary cap to suit the weakest.  Look what that has achieved in comparison.

OK I know football is far different in what opportunities they have but its worth looking at some aspects. They for sure don't worry that its the same side winning the premiership... In last 2o years only 6 teams have won it... and of that 6 two only once... so x4 clubs have dominated winning the title.

Yep lots aspects to consider from salary cap, pathways, internationals, etc etc but the difference in ideology  hasn't helped our sport.

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1 minute ago, Man of Kent said:

Agree, and that's why I'm sympathetic to the RFL's proposals because we currently don't have 12 'Super' clubs, let alone 14.

Going to 10, I believe, would spur some Darwinian evolution that creates a highly competitive elite comp with no deadweight.

Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to move forwards.

Going from 14 to 12 didn't cause that though. Why?

Well for starters, a third of the league were threatened with relegation each year, and half threatened with being in the middle 8s. A 10 team league with relegation would be pointless. The only way new teams should get in is by the league getting larger.

Secondly, the middle 8s games were lopsided with interest. The only people it mattered to in a positive sense were the Championship clubs with a sniff of going up. For the Super League sides it said "you're a second division club for a third of the season", which nobody was very interested in. If a third of your season is utterly pointless by definition, then what are you asking crowds to come and watch?

Thirdly, there still remain clubs who cannot pay the Salary Cap. There are plenty of players out there, in the NRL and RU too, but we still have at least 2 clubs unable to pay near to the cap and so cannot raise high quality squads. The Salary Cap increasing is good for the sport at the top end, but in terms of intensity and quality, we are still without a minimum spend/wage.

So naturally I expect none of this to be learned by the RFL and we get a second restructure of the past 7 years focused on the bottom of Super League and the Top of the Championship rather than the clubs that can drive the game forwards.

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Just now, Tommygilf said:

Thirdly, there still remain clubs who cannot pay the Salary Cap. There are plenty of players out there, in the NRL and RU too, but we still have at least 2 clubs unable to pay near to the cap and so cannot raise high quality squads. The Salary Cap increasing is good for the sport at the top end, but in terms of intensity and quality, we are still without a minimum spend/wage.

Exactly. That's why I like the 10 idea.

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1 hour ago, Harry Stottle said:

Hi Griff, I was just answering the suggestion that the cap should be raised nothing to do with player performance, there has been loads of threads on these pages that say for the job they do our players do not get paid enough and quite right to, so if the cap is raised the clubs who employ player's will have to raise their salary or they move to someone who will offer more. 

OK - but I'm not convinced that all that logic follows.

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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The money coming in should be invested into clubs too. How much money, literally millions, has been wasted by Cas and Wakey over the past 10 years to not get relegated? Likewise how many millions have been pumped into the championship to give clubs who could play on 75k handouts 6 figure salary ego boosts? How much has the sport got to show for this investment?

I'd be glad if the RFL actually used some of the money to invest in the game as a fund. Help Wakefield build/redevelop a Stadium. Build an elite training centre in X for two clubs plus England to share.

Instead, that money has been ###### up the wall to see a handful of teams get slightly bigger crowds whilst the rest of the game has shrunken massively. Now we're being told "prove why you're worth it" for a smaller contract with not a lot we're proud leading us to cut off 2 clubs! 

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10 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Exactly. That's why I like the 10 idea.

The 10 has the flaw of risking being a commercial flop however.

We need to build 4 more clubs to be at the level of the 10.

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34 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Agree, and that's why I'm sympathetic to the RFL's proposals because we currently don't have 12 'Super' clubs, let alone 14.

Going to 10, I believe, would spur some Darwinian evolution that creates a highly competitive elite comp with no deadweight.

Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to move forwards.

Also if that means 18 round regular fixtures then so be it. Make the Wigan v Saints and Hull v Hull KR derbies special. Give time off to properly manage the Challenge Cup and mid-season internationals. The repeat fixtures are not the key to earning money. If Sky want a maximum number of games then split the odd round across 2 weeks so all 6 games can be televised. 

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  • John Drake changed the title to League Restructure Thread (Merged Threads)

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