Former RFL chief executive Maurice Lindsay, the man credited with the birth of Super League, assessed the current state of the game in this month’s Rugby League World magazine, in-stores this Friday, or available at totalrl.com/shop.
Lindsay, who held the position at the RFL between 1992 and 1999, believes that the existing is inadequate for purpose. Lindsay tells the clubs to keep their opinions away and allow Robert Elstone to operate the competition independently.
“I think we’ve now fallen behind a little and I think Rob knows that,” he admitted. “I am a little critical of what the Super League clubs are doing around Robert. From what I can see, they have appointed him and they think that’s the end of it. But it’s only the beginning. The board of directors has one member from each club.
“But that is amateurish. Every club will be looking after its own interests. You need a board and a dynamic team, which I don’t think Robert has yet, and an independent Chairman, who shouldn’t come from one of the clubs.
“Twelve directors is not the answer. They can’t sacrifice their own interest to develop the game as a whole. There is a conflict of interest there.”
But Lindsay does see Elstone’s appointment as a move forward for Super League, but added that the sport needs to set its goals higher if it is to compete on the sporting landscape to its full potential.
“The appointment of Robert Elstone has already refreshed Super League to some degree, but we live in very competitive times,” Lindsay said.
“Look at netball, for example. There is a new generation of sports people, all with new ideas. With the development of Sky in particular and their recent commercial merger, they have dedicated channels. All sport is chasing the dollar and we will get left behind if we are unable to replicate the excitement that we saw in the mid-nineties.
“We need to set our ambitions much higher at club level. We still have the traditional three, four or five clubs that win trophies. We must capitalise on clubs like Hull and every other club that has something to offer, including history, tradition and support. We need to bring the players through who are dynamic with skill levels that are wonderful. We are losing some players to Australia, which worries me, but club owners need to be more aware of what’s needed.”