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4 hours ago, Coggo said:

The OP asked who are the front runners. Carcassonne are one such. 

They should start them in championship if they do make the switch to england.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

That doesn’t make sense. 

Take away the current top 5 of L1 who I would think belong in an expanded Championship, what divisions in a NSEW third tier would be short of teams?

What doesn't make sense? Its all quite obvious and others seem to agree so it makes sense to them.

We don't have that many clubs of professional League 1 standard as is and dont even have enough for an ideal league size now with only 1 league. If you are simply talking about having 4 regional leagues of a much lower standard than we already have those.

Edited by Damien
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46 minutes ago, Damien said:

What doesn't make sense? Its all quite obvious and others seem to agree so it makes sense to them.

We don't have that many clubs of professional League 1 standard as is and dont even have enough for an ideal league size now with only 1 league. If you are simply talking about having 4 regional leagues of a much lower standard than we already have those.

I don’t believe the pyramid is structured correctly. That’s been my point all along. RL isn’t big or financially viable enough to run a national third tier.

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5 hours ago, sam4731 said:

Given the fact that a lot of the expansion clubs that we have had have made the step up from community clubs rather than been new set ups shows that however disastrous the outcome eventually was, it is possible to make the step up. Surely with more people behind the venture, the more successful its likely to be.

But that's my point.. just becuase you bring the clubs together does not mean you get more people behind the venture.. you just get 1 ever so slightly larger club which you couldnhave built anyway.. you've lost all the other clubs who also have a potential to become slightly bigger.. you don't get a super club with loads more people to make it work. 

You need one of the clubs to move forward, the others being there can help that so building a "super area" rather than "super club". Each club in the area is important they are not disposable. 

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53 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

I don’t believe the pyramid is structured correctly. That’s been my point all along. RL isn’t big or financially viable enough to run a national third tier.

You never said scrapping League 1 though, you said splitting it and having conferences. 

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6 hours ago, Damien said:

You never said scrapping League 1 though, you said splitting it and having conferences. 

Yes, I said promote the top 5 to Championship and split league 1 into regions. I would assume people didn’t think I was proposing the split divisions would be made up solely of the remaining 5 league 1 teams. Is that what you thought I meant?

I figured it was obvious I was considering a restructure of the pyramid which would require the utilisation of NCL and other divisions to fill those spots.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sports Prophet said:

Yes, I said promote the top 5 to Championship and split league 1 into regions. I would assume people didn’t think I was proposing the split divisions would be made up solely of the remaining 5 league 1 teams. Is that what you thought I meant?

I figured it was obvious I was considering a restructure of the pyramid which would require the utilisation of NCL and other divisions to fill those spots.

Look what you said is quoted below. None of this implies any of what you say here or have said since. My reply to this was simply stating there wasn't enough teams to do this and that we already have regional leagues at lower levels that fulfil that purpose. You could have agreed with that but didn't and instead chose to argue it.

My second reply to your question was that there weren't enough teams of league 1 standard. You argued with that too and have continued to do so, progressively adding different arguments along the way to the extent you are now actually saying what you are say in your latest post.

I mean League 1 minus 5 teams only leaves 4 teams, hardly nothing left of league 1 anyway. It sounds like what you essentially now mean is to scrap League 1, move the top 5 teams to the Championship and the bottom 4 into the regional leagues that already exist.

This is what my initial reply was based on:

16 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

Can’t help but think League 1 needs to be split into North, East, South and West with the 1895 Cup contested between clubs in this tier only as an opportunity for cross conference fixtures.

 

Edited by Damien
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Damien said:

Look what you said is quoted below. None of this implies any of what you say here or have said since. My reply to this was simply stating there wasn't enough teams to do this and that we already have regional leagues at lower levels that fulfil that purpose. You could have agreed with that but didn't and instead chose to argue it.

My second reply to your question was that there weren't enough teams of league 1 standard. You argued with that too and have continued to do so, progressively adding different arguments along the way to the extent you are now actually saying what you are say in your latest post.

I mean League 1 minus 5 teams only leaves 4 teams, hardly nothing left of league 1 anyway. It sounds like what you essentially now mean is to scrap League 1, move the top 5 teams to the Championship and the bottom 4 into the regional leagues that already exist.

This is what my initial reply was based on:

 

Naturally, I wasn’t suggesting splitting a 9 teams, let alone a 4 teams into NESW divisions. 

Avoiding an argument over my obvious lack of eloquence, let me try again.

I like the idea of promoting the NCL up the chain to third tier status, but I don’t think the NCL in its current setup would be suitable for a restructured pyramid either. Nor would I have automatic promo and relegation from the third tier to second tier.

So my thoughts on the third tier of the sport in the GB should be NESW divisions, consisting of, but not exclusively of, NCL clubs. 

By limiting the geographical footprint of the third tier, I expect the sport could have done a much better job of fostering clubs like Hemel, St Albans, Essex, Skolars, Sth London, Oxford, Northampton, Coventry, Nottingham, South Wales, West Wales and Gloucestershire  lot name a few which all at some stage desired participating at a higher tier/standard, but the funding and national footprint of the tier they entered in most cases proved fatal. The few which survived are shadows of themselves at their peak.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sports Prophet said:

Naturally, I wasn’t suggesting splitting a 9 teams, let alone a 4 teams into NESW divisions. 

Avoiding an argument over my obvious lack of eloquence, let me try again.

I like the idea of promoting the NCL up the chain to third tier status, but I don’t think the NCL in its current setup would be suitable for a restructured pyramid either. Nor would I have automatic promo and relegation from the third tier to second tier.

So my thoughts on the third tier of the sport in the GB should be NESW divisions, consisting of, but not exclusively of, NCL clubs. 

By limiting the geographical footprint of the third tier, I expect the sport could have done a much better job of fostering clubs like Hemel, St Albans, Essex, Skolars, Sth London, Oxford, Northampton, Coventry, Nottingham, South Wales, West Wales and Gloucestershire  lot name a few which all at some stage desired participating at a higher tier/standard, but the funding and national footprint of the tier they entered in most cases proved fatal. The few which survived are shadows of themselves at their peak.

I never said you was on about splitting 9 teams, it was clear what you meant and that was teams stepping up. That's why I said we don't have the teams of League 1 standard to do that. I'll leave that at that.

Moving on to this for me what you are saying is the difference between an ideal, for a sport with a nationwide presence with clubs in all these towns, and reality. As is we don't have a pyramid nor the teams for one. Most NCL teams are not potential professional teams. They are community teams like St Pats and Leigh Miners in towns that already have professional teams. They will never be part of a bona fide 3rd tier pyramid or have any aim to be a professional club. That is the case for almost every one of our community clubs. Most clubs in the North, and what would probably be in your East and West, are in the right place and league for them now.

I would love to have 48 or so clubs covering towns and cities the length of the country for some sort of proper North, South, East and West 3rd tier, even if it was amateur. We dont, we have the Southern Conference with 9 teams, which is way off a 3rd tier and has one team that can't field as is because they are really at too high a level, and barely any in what would be the North/East/West divisions bar the kind of community teams I've mentioned (depending on how you split the areas).

Therfore we cant have anything remotely resembling a tier 3 level along the lines you suggest. It is nigh on impossible to properly limit geographical area in development areas because of either lack of teams or lack of teams at a similar standard. We essentially have what we have now out of necessity and it would take an awful lot of investment and RFL strategy over years to really change that (like we had in the Richard Lewis era plus another 15 years).

I certainly agree the sport could and should have done a much better job at developing those clubs you mention and the great work done in the Richard Lewis era was left to rot but we are now were we are.

Edited by Damien
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 @Damien you seem to be confusing the discussion because the current standard of clubs is irrelevant.

League 1 would abolished. The current top NCL clubs fill a new third tier in East and West (and North if possible) and they remain the standard they currently are. Then below that are tiers 4, 5, 6 and so on, filled by remaining NCL, NWC and Yorkshire leagues. Maybe there is no North division.

The Southern Conference becomes the Southern Tier 3 division. They remain the standard they currently are. It doesn’t matter if the NESW divisions vary in standard, as there would be no auto promotion to the 2nd tier Championship anyway.

It’s just a matter of tidying up the pyramid. What this will also achieve is an opportunity for the varying divisions to improve by living up to each other. Grassroots clubs will have far less distances to travel which can only serve to improve the experience of participants. There will be representative opportunities which don’t currently exist and as I mentioned earlier, I would have the 1895 Cup changed to include up to Tier 3 to allow for cross divisional club opportunities.

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League 1 needs a rethink clearly. In fact I'd extend that to all semi professional RL as having away days to Cornwall would be massively impactful to Championship clubs playing in their Northern League now (with subsidised travel to France once a year), hence why they were "invited to not take part" in the 1895 Cup.

Its not an easy question to answer though.

Regionalisation seems an obvious solution on the face of it. Reduced travel requirements gives greater ability to spend money on the club itself. More local opposition creates better rivalries at this level as well as mutual support. The cons however have repeatedly been pointed out. For the non-northern clubs in particular, a visit of a traditional RL club is an easier sell and results in a higher gate than a match against another "expansion" side. That said, the distances between these "expansion" sides has to be taken into account too - hardly any of them were close to one another.

In my mind I look back and think how can we have an environment that can include and support the likes of London Skolars, Hemel, Oxford, Gloucestershire, Coventry, South/West Wales. Even more how could the likes of Nottingham, Manchester Rangers, even Bramley etc that are Heartland or in the periphery of the Heartland be able to have a level in the nominally "pro" ranks.

If I was the RFL chairman, I'd let IMG deal with the top of the professional game, meanwhile I'd be working to establish 100s of Hemel Stags sized clubs around the country in towns and Cities from Harrogate to Bristol - and supporting those already there to grow.

The game as a whole needs to be stronger to facilitate a 3rd (and who knows maybe even a 4th) tier worthy of the name.

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4 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

 @Damien you seem to be confusing the discussion because the current standard of clubs is irrelevant.

League 1 would abolished. The current top NCL clubs fill a new third tier in East and West (and North if possible) and they remain the standard they currently are. Then below that are tiers 4, 5, 6 and so on, filled by remaining NCL, NWC and Yorkshire leagues. Maybe there is no North division.

The Southern Conference becomes the Southern Tier 3 division. They remain the standard they currently are. It doesn’t matter if the NESW divisions vary in standard, as there would be no auto promotion to the 2nd tier Championship anyway.

It’s just a matter of tidying up the pyramid. What this will also achieve is an opportunity for the varying divisions to improve by living up to each other. Grassroots clubs will have far less distances to travel which can only serve to improve the experience of participants. There will be representative opportunities which don’t currently exist and as I mentioned earlier, I would have the 1895 Cup changed to include up to Tier 3 to allow for cross divisional club opportunities.

I'm not confusing anything. You started with a premis and keep completely changing it with every reply. This is the first time you've posted most of this and even argued when I was telling you this already existed. Even worse you are now repeating, for the first time, what I told you. It's the whole moving the goalposts approach to then make out your right and that you meant something different, when every post has been contrary to this.

A pyramid denotes a pyramid to the top with some sort of promotion possible between the leagues. We do not have that despite what the RFL may pretend. This is not one either and isn't actually changing much, it's just scrapping League 1 and the current tier 3 and bumping the leagues below up a tier from tier 4. If you simply meant scrapping League 1, you should have maybe mentioned it before page 3.

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It's a shame every single thread on league 1 descends into a debate about structure. Regional leagues are a non starter. End of debate.

I can't help wondering what the RFL want to achieve here. Where are they going to get these clubs from? The only potential credible applications might be a French one but aside from a few chancers who think they have what it takes to run a league 1 club who is actually interested?

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3 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

League 1 needs a rethink clearly. In fact I'd extend that to all semi professional RL as having away days to Cornwall would be massively impactful to Championship clubs playing in their Northern League now (with subsidised travel to France once a year), hence why they were "invited to not take part" in the 1895 Cup.

Its not an easy question to answer though.

Regionalisation seems an obvious solution on the face of it. Reduced travel requirements gives greater ability to spend money on the club itself. More local opposition creates better rivalries at this level as well as mutual support. The cons however have repeatedly been pointed out. For the non-northern clubs in particular, a visit of a traditional RL club is an easier sell and results in a higher gate than a match against another "expansion" side. That said, the distances between these "expansion" sides has to be taken into account too - hardly any of them were close to one another.

In my mind I look back and think how can we have an environment that can include and support the likes of London Skolars, Hemel, Oxford, Gloucestershire, Coventry, South/West Wales. Even more how could the likes of Nottingham, Manchester Rangers, even Bramley etc that are Heartland or in the periphery of the Heartland be able to have a level in the nominally "pro" ranks.

If I was the RFL chairman, I'd let IMG deal with the top of the professional game, meanwhile I'd be working to establish 100s of Hemel Stags sized clubs around the country in towns and Cities from Harrogate to Bristol - and supporting those already there to grow.

The game as a whole needs to be stronger to facilitate a 3rd (and who knows maybe even a 4th) tier worthy of the name.

I think you've hit a few things on the head. League 1 is needed, it serves an important purpose or should do, but the issue is that there aren't enough clubs. The game royally screwed this up 15 or so years ago moving away from what Richard Lewis had planned. We need more Cornwalls etc but we need a league that is accommodating to them and more clubs of a similar development standing facing the same challenges. The trouble is that due to history, and frankly poor management, we are banging our heads against various barriers of our own making.

I certainly think we need a semi-professional League 1 as a development league, bridging the gap between those social type regional leagues and the established northern semi-professional clubs. Even if that is just paying expenses and a few quid but it should be seen as quite different than the amateur NCL and regional type leagues. The established northern clubs should either step up to the Championship or accept the travelling in such a league. We can easily expand SL and Championship to accommodate these clubs.

There's 4 'development' League 1 clubs. In my opinion we need to get this up to a minimum of 10. Simply adding these to the Southern Conference, a league in itself of only just 9 teams with one that is at the wrong level and has no players, isn't going to work. Semi-professional clubs like Cornwall will kill those clubs. It needs to be a very different beast.

Ideally again you would probably have a north and south version but we are way off that, the goal should be getting an initial like minded 10 clubs and building them up. By necessity that has to be nationwide but we should aim for a decent spread. There should be minimum standards around such a league, even simply along NCL lines, and security when it comes to grounds etc. If the foundations aren't strong then clubs shouldn't be allowed in. It's going to take a little money and guarantees but in the grand scheme of things isn't really much.

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2 hours ago, Damien said:

I'm not confusing anything. You started with a premis and keep completely changing it with every reply. This is the first time you've posted most of this and even argued when I was telling you this already existed. Even worse you are now repeating, for the first time, what I told you. It's the whole moving the goalposts approach to then make out your right and that you meant something different, when every post has been contrary to this.

A pyramid denotes a pyramid to the top with some sort of promotion possible between the leagues. We do not have that despite what the RFL may pretend. This is not one either and isn't actually changing much, it's just scrapping League 1 and the current tier 3 and bumping the leagues below up a tier from tier 4. If you simply meant scrapping League 1, you should have maybe mentioned it before page 3.

No, you’re definitely confused. I’m not even arguing, I have simply each time expressed the same idea on multiple occasions. You are so confused, you are arguing with yourself 😂 

You continue to argue NCL clubs already have the structure I am proposing and that they are not good enough to compete at the proposed level. In both instances you are wrong.

You are also wrong on a pyramid being a structure which requires promotion between the leagues. 

I actually don’t think I have ever seen you be so wrong on this forum before.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

No, you’re definitely confused. I’m not even arguing, I have simply each time expressed the same idea on multiple occasions. You are so confused, you are arguing with yourself 😂 

You continue to argue NCL clubs already have the structure I am proposing and that they are not good enough to compete at the proposed level. In both instances you are wrong.

You are also wrong on a pyramid being a structure which requires promotion between the leagues. 

I actually don’t think I have ever seen you be so wrong on this forum before.

Yeah right 🤣. I mean what you have done is clear to anyone that follow this thread and I can guarantee your replies would have been different if it was anyone else. My initial reply to you was:

There aren't the teams for that and the teams we have at a lower level in those areas are already playing in those type of leagues.

You could have agreed with this but didn't. Then on page 3 completely changed tack, first mentioned scrapping League 1 which is at complete odds with what you said prior and first acknowledged we already have these leagues as I told you above, to say the same thing.

Lets just leave it at that as its getting no where.

Edited by Damien
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Damien said:

 

You could have agreed with this but didn't. Then on page 3 completely changed tack, first mentioned scrapping League 1 which is at complete odds with what you said prior and first acknowledged we already have these leagues as I told you above, to say the same thing.

Lets just leave it at that as its getting no where.

See, you’re confused. The NCL is not a regional format and pyramid like I am suggesting. 

Yeah, you are probably right to leave this one where it is before you get even more confused. But I expect you won’t be able to help yourself will you?

Edited by Sports Prophet
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The question is ' What is to be done about League 1 ?'

It cannot continue as at present as it is in danger of collapse as not being sustainable in its current format. 

That is the  real reason for  the RFL to be  now reaching out for Applications.

Promotion of some clubs to enlarge the Championship with demotion of others to Tier 4 will not work. Who do you promote to Tier 2 ? Where would the caste offs go ? Remember it happened once before and was far from successful.

The RFL Board may have to bite the bullet and make some robust decisions. And yes , govern.

1 - Declare League 1 clubs as Open rather than semi pro and have their regulations  moved into those governing the Community game ( at present Tiers 4 -6 ).  Significant savings both on and off the field would ensue.

2 -  The division needs at least 3 and preferably 6  progressive sustainable clubs to make it happen. New start ups or more junior clubs than those who can play to top NCL standards should not be excluded if they have solid business plans.

3 - Finance is critical to it all. If the RFL are actually serious about wanting League 1 to be a development vehicle ( or want it at all ) then they have to invest in it. The rumoured 10 k per club per season is blatantly insufficient. Either pay the travel in full or better still promise at least 30 k for each participant from central funding. That would be at a net cost of less than 300 k . - or put another way , one marquee player.

4 -  I recently became aware of  a report prepared by Dave Rotheram and Paul Medley about the investment side of the Scholarship / Academy activities. I believe it was presented to the RFL Council recently. They number crunched. The cost of players taken on by but then ' removed ' from the programmes exceeded £2.3 million. In one year.....

The funding is clearly floating around in the game if they really want League 1 ( and the rest of the game for that matter ) to make progress.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

It's a shame every single thread on league 1 descends into a debate about structure. Regional leagues are a non starter. End of debate.

I can't help wondering what the RFL want to achieve here. Where are they going to get these clubs from? The only potential credible applications might be a French one but aside from a few chancers who think they have what it takes to run a league 1 club who is actually interested?

This is true. The issue is a lack of clubs at each level that are suitable for that level.

The IMG process is a clear mechanism to address that at SL level. There should be similar processes to address this at Championship and League 1 level too.

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1 hour ago, del capo said:

The question is ' What is to be done about League 1 ?'

It cannot continue as at present as it is in danger of collapse as not being sustainable in its current format. 

That is the  real reason for  the RFL to be  now reaching out for Applications.

Promotion of some clubs to enlarge the Championship with demotion of others to Tier 4 will not work. Who do you promote to Tier 2 ? Where would the caste offs go ? Remember it happened once before and was far from successful.

The RFL Board may have to bite the bullet and make some robust decisions. And yes , govern.

1 - Declare League 1 clubs as Open rather than semi pro and have their regulations  moved into those governing the Community game ( at present Tiers 4 -6 ).  Significant savings both on and off the field would ensue.

2 -  The division needs at least 3 and preferably 6  progressive sustainable clubs to make it happen. New start ups or more junior clubs than those who can play to top NCL standards should not be excluded if they have solid business plans.

3 - Finance is critical to it all. If the RFL are actually serious about wanting League 1 to be a development vehicle ( or want it at all ) then they have to invest in it. The rumoured 10 k per club per season is blatantly insufficient. Either pay the travel in full or better still promise at least 30 k for each participant from central funding. That would be at a net cost of less than 300 k . - or put another way , one marquee player.

4 -  I recently became aware of  a report prepared by Dave Rotheram and Paul Medley about the investment side of the Scholarship / Academy activities. I believe it was presented to the RFL Council recently. They number crunched. The cost of players taken on by but then ' removed ' from the programmes exceeded £2.3 million. In one year.....

The funding is clearly floating around in the game if they really want League 1 ( and the rest of the game for that matter ) to make progress.

 

 

 

Agree with pretty much all that. It's vitally important for the game to keep a sufficient level of funding going to the lower leagues. It just isn't feasible for any club to be properly self sustaining in league 1 and if we're going to have any hope of getting true growth of the game across the UK then we need enough funding to give these clubs time to achieve it. 

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2 hours ago, Damien said:

This is true. The issue is a lack of clubs at each level that are suitable for that level.

The IMG process is a clear mechanism to address that at SL level. There should be similar processes to address this at Championship and League 1 level too.

Not sure whether I'm missing something obvious here, but given Championship and L1 clubs are under the IMG "spreadsheet" umbrella you'd like to think that'll drive standards up in some way over the longer term. That of course isn't to say there shouldn't be more focused support on those divisions though as you say.

Some interesting points throughout this thread in general (not that I've read through every page!). A lot seems to be focused on improving the standards of League 1 itself, which is valid, but shouldn't we be looking to really drive standards going from top down? So for instance, instead of looking to attract potential League 1-standard clubs into the system, maybe looking to either attract expansion clubs with big plans for SL i.e. a Catalans type. Of course the obvious question then is where these clubs and investors behind them coming from.

Interestingly, there are a few clubs in other sports that are basically "multi-sport" clubs - I'm thinking the likes of Barcelona, Galatasaray etc. who have basketball teams for example and maybe others as well as football teams (I think Leeds Rhinos have a Netball Super League team too). I've never seen the idea floated that we should tap into the likes of those clubs, but surely that could be worth a look?

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2 hours ago, overtheborder said:

Not sure whether I'm missing something obvious here, but given Championship and L1 clubs are under the IMG "spreadsheet" umbrella you'd like to think that'll drive standards up in some way over the longer term. That of course isn't to say there shouldn't be more focused support on those divisions though as you say.

Some interesting points throughout this thread in general (not that I've read through every page!). A lot seems to be focused on improving the standards of League 1 itself, which is valid, but shouldn't we be looking to really drive standards going from top down? So for instance, instead of looking to attract potential League 1-standard clubs into the system, maybe looking to either attract expansion clubs with big plans for SL i.e. a Catalans type. Of course the obvious question then is where these clubs and investors behind them coming from.

Interestingly, there are a few clubs in other sports that are basically "multi-sport" clubs - I'm thinking the likes of Barcelona, Galatasaray etc. who have basketball teams for example and maybe others as well as football teams (I think Leeds Rhinos have a Netball Super League team too). I've never seen the idea floated that we should tap into the likes of those clubs, but surely that could be worth a look?

That's generally how we've always operated and except for Catalans which we're really an expansion club, all have failed. See Gateshead Thunder, Sheffield Mk1, Toronto Wolfpack, Paris Saint Germain, Celtic Crusaders. It's a shortcut that always fails because the clubs are built on foundations of sand. Sheffield Mk2 are a better example of 'expansion' done right, building at a slower pace but even that has had to be underpinned significantly by a generous benefactor. The trick is to get the right environment that can attract those types, but also enough to survive for the clubs without. 

 

We won't ever get true expansion until we start doing the hard yards and start thinking about where the game should be in 25, 50 years down the line and not where we want it in 3 or 4 years time. Clubs like Midlands, Newcastle, Cornwall aren't going to just take off overnight - they need years, even decades of work to develop the surrounding infrastructure to thrive. Since the RFL is generally too impotent to actually make the decisions to assign the money properly and the small pot we do have is controlled by the clubs at the top of the pyramid, the best way at this point would be to appeal to the their selfish nature - For example you could give a trade off to clubs for salary cap dispensations in exchange for funding of development officers in targeted regions, or even IMG points for any extra curricular development of the wider game. 

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