Talking Rugby League: Clubs’ growing impatience with IMG

I GET the feeling that I’m not the only person involved with Rugby League who is beginning to ask questions about IMG’s involvement with the game.

When the company first came on board in 2022, their future role in Rugby League was hailed by the RFL as a gamechanger.

Since then, they have introduced their grading system and they have done some work with the clubs in relation to the digital marketing.

They have no doubt advised the RFL and RL Commercial on branding, some evidence of which is the new Super League logos that were published last week.

But when IMG’s role was first announced, the story was that their income from Rugby League would only come from any increase in commercial and broadcasting revenue that the game generates during their period of involvement.

However, in November I reported that the RFL had been presented with an invoice from IMG for services rendered to the value of £450,000.

I was slightly surprised by that, but now I’m even more surprised to be told by a usually reliable source that £450,000 will be an annual payment to IMG and that it isn’t too obvious what that organisation has to do to earn that money.

As far as I’m aware, no club owners have seen the contract between the RFL and IMG.

In the circumstances it surely falls to the RFL and RL Commercial to clarify the terms of the contract publicly.

If I’m wrong about this annual payment, I would happily stand to be corrected.

But I am beginning to get the message from quite a few clubs that there are plenty of questions the clubs would like answering.