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Thread: Future Structure for RL Competitions

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    Default Future Structure for RL Competitions

    Since it is out of season I though I would try my hand at the redvee forum. I am new to this forum but have been - since I was a small child - a life long fan of RL, particularly St Helens, having been born and bred in the Town.

    Since I now live in East Anglia my watching of the team is limited mostly to Sky Sport TV and the occasional venture to the TW Stadium for games against Wigan.

    Putting aside all the arguements about (1) how Good/Bad is the current game or (2) how Good/Bad referees are etc etc. I wonder how should the game go forward, given -

    a. The apparent ascendancy of RU (money/southern-centric press/appropriation of the term `Rugby` -how did the RFL let them get away with that one?).

    b. Lack of joined up planning etc in the RFL/Superleague.

    c.Insular / Inward looking clubs.

    So after 25 years of SL I decided to feel a bit gloomy about a sport I have loved since my father introduced me to it when I could just about big enough to see over the wall barriers at old Knowsley Rd.

    BUT THEN I read Martyn Sadler`s (editor of the League Express) article of 4 August 2021 (a bit late I know) about a future structure of RL. Its an article which addresses just about all the issues of structure within the game, and represents - in my opinion - the best hope for the game in the future.

    It proposes a competition structure of 36 clubs made up of all full and part time RL Clubs in SL?Championship/League 1 in a conference system based on other highly successful conference systems used across the whole spectrum of sport.

    I can see nothing in the article that is not sensible and feasible. It answers many questions, for instance -
    a. No relegation - not a problem for me - after all when I started watching the game there was only one league and nobody went on about relegation. Plus RL is NOT FOOTBALL , whether we like it or not there is not enough money in the game to sustain a relegation/promotion system
    b. Inclusion of teams from other areas (Cumbria) and outside the UK in a sustainable way.

    It is an excellent article and I wonder if folk have read it and commented on it before. I may be naieve and missing something fundemental but I do believe that this type of structure is the only one that will sustain and grow a sport I have watched and admired all my life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daverma View Post
    Since it is out of season I though I would try my hand at the redvee forum. I am new to this forum but have been - since I was a small child - a life long fan of RL, particularly St Helens, having been born and bred in the Town.

    Since I now live in East Anglia my watching of the team is limited mostly to Sky Sport TV and the occasional venture to the TW Stadium for games against Wigan.

    Putting aside all the arguements about (1) how Good/Bad is the current game or (2) how Good/Bad referees are etc etc. I wonder how should the game go forward, given -

    a. The apparent ascendancy of RU (money/southern-centric press/appropriation of the term `Rugby` -how did the RFL let them get away with that one?).

    b. Lack of joined up planning etc in the RFL/Superleague.

    c.Insular / Inward looking clubs.

    So after 25 years of SL I decided to feel a bit gloomy about a sport I have loved since my father introduced me to it when I could just about big enough to see over the wall barriers at old Knowsley Rd.

    BUT THEN I read Martyn Sadler`s (editor of the League Express) article of 4 August 2021 (a bit late I know) about a future structure of RL. Its an article which addresses just about all the issues of structure within the game, and represents - in my opinion - the best hope for the game in the future.

    It proposes a competition structure of 36 clubs made up of all full and part time RL Clubs in SL?Championship/League 1 in a conference system based on other highly successful conference systems used across the whole spectrum of sport.

    I can see nothing in the article that is not sensible and feasible. It answers many questions, for instance -
    a. No relegation - not a problem for me - after all when I started watching the game there was only one league and nobody went on about relegation. Plus RL is NOT FOOTBALL , whether we like it or not there is not enough money in the game to sustain a relegation/promotion system
    b. Inclusion of teams from other areas (Cumbria) and outside the UK in a sustainable way.

    It is an excellent article and I wonder if folk have read it and commented on it before. I may be naieve and missing something fundemental but I do believe that this type of structure is the only one that will sustain and grow a sport I have watched and admired all my life.
    Good post some interesting points thanks

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    I have to say that when I read the article at the time, the first thought in my head was that it was the kind of rubbish that only Martyn Sadler could come up with.

    The conference systems are a success in America. However, the target audience is different. We have different tradition and expectations from sport. Individual games and their results don't necessarily do it for us here. There has to be a bigger picture, be it titles, promotion, relegation or reaching play-offs, to get people excited.

    The issue of funding is something he pays lip service to but doesn't address, simply because he can't address it. The gulf between current Super League clubs and the lower League One clubs is probably about 80 points. The gulf in finances is even wider. So, for a start, we are seeing a number of clubs get slapped by the kind of scoreline that instantly turns fans away from the game.

    Now, currently the Super League clubs get something like £1.5 million a year, Championship clubs £300 K and League One clubs less. I've pulled these figures out of thin air, to be honest, but they sound right. So, do we dumb existing Super League clubs finances down to get an equilibrium, thus bankrupting current Super League clubs or do we fund as per Martyn's suggestion, by giving £1.28 million for top spot in each conference, down to £80,000 at the bottom?

    Two things here. One is that how can you sign players on a contract and pay them a wage when you cannot guarantee your income to a reasonable degree? The second is that, actually, you might be able to, because such financial disparity is going to guarantee that the whipping boys forever remain whipping boys. They won't get the money to build a team and they'll continue to get flogged until the point that the last fan out of the door can turn out the lights.

    At the moment, teams play teams who are broadly speaking at their level. That makes things competitive and interesting for the spectator. Crucially, it's the weekly intensity that primes players for international competition. If eight of Saints games are against Widnes, Whitehaven, Widnes and Workington, there is no intensity and the competition will never even up because of the financial issues I highlight above and the fact the game is split between full and part time players. The competition will not sell to the fans, crowds will go down, funding will lessen.

    If Rugby League was commencing from Ground Zero, it could be the way to go, but it isn't. American sports often have draft systems in place. They are much more equal. In RL we have big clubs, not so big, small and tiny. That disparity in wealth, quality, stadia and support means that the system would merely be a preparatory system for the big clubs to walk through without getting enough intensity and preparation.

    I've put a link to the article here for those who haven't seen it. However, in my honest opinion, like 99% of Sadler's writing, it's fit only for the dustbin. It's simply not been thought through.

    https://www.totalrl.com/a-future-str...-competitions/
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    Quote Originally Posted by DD View Post
    I have to say that when I read the article at the time, the first thought in my head was that it was the kind of rubbish that only Martyn Sadler could come up with.

    The conference systems are a success in America. However, the target audience is different. We have different tradition and expectations from sport. Individual games and their results don't necessarily do it for us here. There has to be a bigger picture, be it titles, promotion, relegation or reaching play-offs, to get people excited.

    The issue of funding is something he pays lip service to but doesn't address, simply because he can't address it. The gulf between current Super League clubs and the lower League One clubs is probably about 80 points. The gulf in finances is even wider. So, for a start, we are seeing a number of clubs get slapped by the kind of scoreline that instantly turns fans away from the game.

    Now, currently the Super League clubs get something like £1.5 million a year, Championship clubs £300 K and League One clubs less. I've pulled these figures out of thin air, to be honest, but they sound right. So, do we dumb existing Super League clubs finances down to get an equilibrium, thus bankrupting current Super League clubs or do we fund as per Martyn's suggestion, by giving £1.28 million for top spot in each conference, down to £80,000 at the bottom?

    Two things here. One is that how can you sign players on a contract and pay them a wage when you cannot guarantee your income to a reasonable degree? The second is that, actually, you might be able to, because such financial disparity is going to guarantee that the whipping boys forever remain whipping boys. They won't get the money to build a team and they'll continue to get flogged until the point that the last fan out of the door can turn out the lights.

    At the moment, teams play teams who are broadly speaking at their level. That makes things competitive and interesting for the spectator. Crucially, it's the weekly intensity that primes players for international competition. If eight of Saints games are against Widnes, Whitehaven, Widnes and Workington, there is no intensity and the competition will never even up because of the financial issues I highlight above and the fact the game is split between full and part time players. The competition will not sell to the fans, crowds will go down, funding will lessen.

    If Rugby League was commencing from Ground Zero, it could be the way to go, but it isn't. American sports often have draft systems in place. They are much more equal. In RL we have big clubs, not so big, small and tiny. That disparity in wealth, quality, stadia and support means that the system would merely be a preparatory system for the big clubs to walk through without getting enough intensity and preparation.

    I've put a link to the article here for those who haven't seen it. However, in my honest opinion, like 99% of Sadler's writing, it's fit only for the dustbin. It's simply not been thought through.

    https://www.totalrl.com/a-future-str...-competitions/
    I agree with you the report was complete nonsense in my opinion. A 12 team super league with top five end if season comp but minus loop fixtures and a revitalised challenge cup starting with groups of 5 teams drawn from the top two divisions makes more sense to me.

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    In Australia, with the game in NSW at least bigger than in 'Europe', they only have 16 clubs in their entire premier competition (albeit increasing to 17). The tier below that are separate competitions as we all know - in NSW comprised the reserve teams of NSW clubs plus clubs that aren't in the NRL (some that once were in the top tier); Similar set-up in Queensland.

    The NRL is the showpiece; the beast that brings in the bulk of the money, sponsorship and media attention. There's no relegation from or promotion into.

    In this country we're obsessed with promotion & relegation, with many in the sport also obsessed with keeping a route open for clubs like Swinton, Batley and Workington - all proud clubs with long (and at times glorious) histories, but who will never, for a range of reasons, be competitive against the likes of us, the piescum, Leeds, Wire in their present guises.

    I think we need to close Superleague off. Only allow new entrants in based on their business plans (funding, marketing, stadium quality, potential fanbase, etc), and with geographical consideration - I'm a fan of expansion, albeit with the business plan taking prime position. We'd ideally aim initially for a 14-team league, with a longer-term target of 16 teams.

    Below that there should be a separate competition. I'd even be happy with SL teams either running their own reserves in there, or formally 'adopting' a feeder club. Two divisions, with promotion & relegation.
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    I am actually trying to write a bit of an essay on the subject at the moment. It is a real complicated subject and I seem to be able to write massive posts on simple ones.

    In short, I feel that as Rugby League has lost trust in the leadership of our sport. We don't seem to be able to go a few years without throwing everything away and start again. Licensing, Super 8s, P&R, P&R with minimum standards, each one had positives and negatives.

    Some were obviously stronger than others but the one constant has been the inconsistency. It is hard to get invested in any structure as we know that we will have another half baked league structure in a few years time.

    So the fans, clubs, sponsors, TV, media are all fed up with the constant tinkering and gimmicks. We haven't had any changes for a few years but this feels more down to the man in charge lacking any form of imagination/intelligence/guts to make alterations and is simply looking to avoid confrontation for as long as possible to keep his job.
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    In Australia, with the game in NSW at least bigger than in 'Europe', they only have 16 clubs in their entire premier competition (albeit increasing to 17). The tier below that are separate competitions as we all know - in NSW comprised the reserve teams of NSW clubs plus clubs that aren't in the NRL (some that once were in the top tier); Similar set-up in Queensland.

    The NRL is the showpiece; the beast that brings in the bulk of the money, sponsorship and media attention. There's no relegation from or promotion into.

    In this country we're obsessed with promotion & relegation, with many in the sport also obsessed with keeping a route open for clubs like Swinton, Batley and Workington - all proud clubs with long (and at times glorious) histories, but who will never, for a range of reasons, be competitive against the likes of us, the piescum, Leeds, Wire in their present guises.

    I think we need to close Superleague off. Only allow new entrants in based on their business plans (funding, marketing, stadium quality, potential fanbase, etc), and with geographical consideration - I'm a fan of expansion, albeit with the business plan taking prime position. We'd ideally aim initially for a 14-team league, with a longer-term target of 16 teams.

    Below that there should be a separate competition. I'd even be happy with SL teams either running their own reserves in there, or formally 'adopting' a feeder club. Two divisions, with promotion & relegation.
    Agree with everything you say.

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    I've got a nasty feeling that all this is just debating how best to re-arrange the deck-chairs on the Titanic.

    The game had a golden opportunity in 1996 (and the few years following). A broadcaster that needed it, more money than it had ever had before, 'household name' players, fast-open rugby on hard summer pitches, genuine rivalries between quality teams (especially us and Bradford), an international team that could compete with Australia. Professional RU hadn't yet got its act together, and even soccer wasn't quite the juggernaut that it is now. Somehow we blew it. And if we could do it from there, we've no chance from here.

    For me, I'm just resigned to making the most of the next few years (quite excited to see what effect Dodd and Welsby have on how we play)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    In Australia, with the game in NSW at least bigger than in 'Europe', they only have 16 clubs in their entire premier competition (albeit increasing to 17). The tier below that are separate competitions as we all know - in NSW comprised the reserve teams of NSW clubs plus clubs that aren't in the NRL (some that once were in the top tier); Similar set-up in Queensland.

    The NRL is the showpiece; the beast that brings in the bulk of the money, sponsorship and media attention. There's no relegation from or promotion into.

    In this country we're obsessed with promotion & relegation, with many in the sport also obsessed with keeping a route open for clubs like Swinton, Batley and Workington - all proud clubs with long (and at times glorious) histories, but who will never, for a range of reasons, be competitive against the likes of us, the piescum, Leeds, Wire in their present guises.

    I think we need to close Superleague off. Only allow new entrants in based on their business plans (funding, marketing, stadium quality, potential fanbase, etc), and with geographical consideration - I'm a fan of expansion, albeit with the business plan taking prime position. We'd ideally aim initially for a 14-team league, with a longer-term target of 16 teams.

    Below that there should be a separate competition. I'd even be happy with SL teams either running their own reserves in there, or formally 'adopting' a feeder club. Two divisions, with promotion & relegation.

    Whilst I aggree that regelation shouldn’t be automatic I do think that clubs need to always add to to competition, I.e grounds, academy, supporting the amateur level in their town, even feeder club etc…We can’t make super league a total closed shop because you know as well as I one or two clubs will continually lobby for reducing the salary cap so they can pick up other teams player, whilst not investing a brass farthing I their infrastructure or the game in their area.

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    I donít really care anymore, if Iím honest. Itís totally the wrong attitude to have towards a huge part of the game but given the fact we change our structure every two years, Iím beyond caring about these changes as theyíll inevitably change again and again. That kind of apathy isnít isolated either, from reading this place. Rugby League fans on here arenít watching games on Sky, so how can we appeal to anyone when our existing fanbase is less and less interested in the sport?

    Fans donít want loop games. Iíve never seen anyone say they liked them. The only thing close was support of the Super 8ís in the form of the Bottom 8ís or whatever they were called where Championship clubs had a chance of promotion, which, admittedly was relatively interesting at times. What wasnít interesting was seven weeks of the top eight in Super League going through the motions with very little and even fewer positional changes riding on them.

    With a twelve team competition, a twenty-three game (eleven home and away and Magic) isnít enough for clubs. Thatís why weíve resorted to loop games in various forms. The proposed ten team Super League makes nineteen games (nine home and away and Magic) a non starter too. A fourteen team league looks, on the face of it, the most attractive but realistically, it presents its own set of issues that weíd probably fail to address or would hope magically disappear in true Rugby League style. Firstly, the quality of the competition as a whole. We have, by my counts, thirteen professional sides, the twelve Super League clubs and Leigh. I suppose thereís hope that London could go professional again after a few years getting their ducks in order but weíve flogged that horse for 25+ years but also there seems to be some scope around Newcastle and York so it might be achievable to hit fourteen clubs but how many would be spending the cap or even 90% of the cap? Thereís already a disparity in clubs in Super League, which looks like being exacerbating over the next year, would adding more teams improve it or not? Quite possibly not in the short term.

    The next issue with a fourteen team league is promotion and relegation. Do we have it or not? If we do, do we want a side going from part-time to full-time in October, when most of the Super League clubs will have completed their transfer business for the following year? Wonít that just make an already incredibly tough job, even tougher, thus making the bottom of the table a bit of a forgone conclusion before a game has even been played? If we donít have relegation, how do you keep the bottom of the table entertaining to some degree? As for the top of the table, what do you do to keep that interesting? We tried seven and eight team play-offs when we last had fourteen teams in Super League and that didnít work, it was purely rewarding mediocrity and just meant for a load of meaningless play-off games. If you go for top five or six, what do the other eight or nine teams have to play for? Thatís where I think some people hope conferences come in, to create smaller ďleaguesĒ with perceived more opportunities for clubs to reach the end of the season play-offs.

    As for the Challenge Cup, Iím not sure on the merits of a group stage either. Are people more likely to pay £20+ for a Challenge Cup group game against Salford than they are to go when itís the second time weíd face them at home in a given year when itís part of their season ticket? Probably not. I know you could count cup games as part of a season ticket but Iíve never known any club do that, unless itís an automatic buy in scheme, so I donít know how realistic that actually is.

    I donít think Super League clubs would even sign up for a group stage anyway, especially if we went with a 32 team group stage. Most years we have to play Wigan or Warrington at home for a second time, would we realistically choose to swap that for a cup game where we could end up playing Keighley or Doncaster? Whatís more attractive to the club from a hospitality angle? Itís certainly not a Sunday afternoon hammering of a part-time club in front of 4,500. If we had a sixteen team competition, is it not just dressing up a loop game as something else?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    I donít really care anymore, if Iím honest. Itís totally the wrong attitude to have towards a huge part of the game but given the fact we change our structure every two years, Iím beyond caring about these changes as theyíll inevitably change again and again. That kind of apathy isnít isolated either, from reading this place. Rugby League fans on here arenít watching games on Sky, so how can we appeal to anyone when our existing fanbase is less and less interested in the sport?

    Fans donít want loop games. Iíve never seen anyone say they liked them. The only thing close was support of the Super 8ís in the form of the Bottom 8ís or whatever they were called where Championship clubs had a chance of promotion, which, admittedly was relatively interesting at times. What wasnít interesting was seven weeks of the top eight in Super League going through the motions with very little and even fewer positional changes riding on them.

    With a twelve team competition, a twenty-three game (eleven home and away and Magic) isnít enough for clubs. Thatís why weíve resorted to loop games in various forms. The proposed ten team Super League makes nineteen games (nine home and away and Magic) a non starter too. A fourteen team league looks, on the face of it, the most attractive but realistically, it presents its own set of issues that weíd probably fail to address or would hope magically disappear in true Rugby League style. Firstly, the quality of the competition as a whole. We have, by my counts, thirteen professional sides, the twelve Super League clubs and Leigh. I suppose thereís hope that London could go professional again after a few years getting their ducks in order but weíve flogged that horse for 25+ years but also there seems to be some scope around Newcastle and York so it might be achievable to hit fourteen clubs but how many would be spending the cap or even 90% of the cap? Thereís already a disparity in clubs in Super League, which looks like being exacerbating over the next year, would adding more teams improve it or not? Quite possibly not in the short term.

    The next issue with a fourteen team league is promotion and relegation. Do we have it or not? If we do, do we want a side going from part-time to full-time in October, when most of the Super League clubs will have completed their transfer business for the following year? Wonít that just make an already incredibly tough job, even tougher, thus making the bottom of the table a bit of a forgone conclusion before a game has even been played? If we donít have relegation, how do you keep the bottom of the table entertaining to some degree? As for the top of the table, what do you do to keep that interesting? We tried seven and eight team play-offs when we last had fourteen teams in Super League and that didnít work, it was purely rewarding mediocrity and just meant for a load of meaningless play-off games. If you go for top five or six, what do the other eight or nine teams have to play for? Thatís where I think some people hope conferences come in, to create smaller ďleaguesĒ with perceived more opportunities for clubs to reach the end of the season play-offs.

    As for the Challenge Cup, Iím not sure on the merits of a group stage either. Are people more likely to pay £20+ for a Challenge Cup group game against Salford than they are to go when itís the second time weíd face them at home in a given year when itís part of their season ticket? Probably not. I know you could count cup games as part of a season ticket but Iíve never known any club do that, unless itís an automatic buy in scheme, so I donít know how realistic that actually is.

    I donít think Super League clubs would even sign up for a group stage anyway, especially if we went with a 32 team group stage. Most years we have to play Wigan or Warrington at home for a second time, would we realistically choose to swap that for a cup game where we could end up playing Keighley or Doncaster? Whatís more attractive to the club from a hospitality angle? Itís certainly not a Sunday afternoon hammering of a part-time club in front of 4,500. If we had a sixteen team competition, is it not just dressing up a loop game as something else?
    You're right, there are a lot of folk like you now, me for one, disillusioned in that the way the game is and has been run, which has just taken away the love, enjoyment and trust in it. I almost feel embarrassed at times to call myself a fan when I see some of the decisions.

    But to pick up on your point about relegation and going from part-time to full-time when all the good players have been snapped up. This is definitely an issue but there's a simple solution I reckon - the team that gets promoted cannot go do back down in their first year.

    In the case of Toulouse now, I'm not sure if they get the same funding as the other 11 teams, I know previously promoted teams haven't (eg Leigh last year), and they've only got a few months to improve their squad to the necessary level. So, rather than helping them along in making the move to the top table we make it as hard as possible for them compete and, pretty much in effect, set them up to fail.

    If they were given a one year exemption then they'd get a reasonable amount of time to make the transition but also, the perennial teams at the bottom that bring nothing to the competition - Salford, Huddersfield, Wakefield etc - would need to actually improve as they'd know they could well go down, whereas now they'll always have the cushion of the promoted team going straight back down.

    It's almost as though we want to promote teams but then want them to fail. Part and parcel of RL I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MachineGunFunk View Post
    You're right, there are a lot of folk like you now, me for one, disillusioned in that the way the game is and has been run, which has just taken away the love, enjoyment and trust in it. I almost feel embarrassed at times to call myself a fan when I see some of the decisions.

    But to pick up on your point about relegation and going from part-time to full-time when all the good players have been snapped up. This is definitely an issue but there's a simple solution I reckon - the team that gets promoted cannot go do back down in their first year.

    In the case of Toulouse now, I'm not sure if they get the same funding as the other 11 teams, I know previously promoted teams haven't (eg Leigh last year), and they've only got a few months to improve their squad to the necessary level. So, rather than helping them along in making the move to the top table we make it as hard as possible for them compete and, pretty much in effect, set them up to fail.

    If they were given a one year exemption then they'd get a reasonable amount of time to make the transition but also, the perennial teams at the bottom that bring nothing to the competition - Salford, Huddersfield, Wakefield etc - would need to actually improve as they'd know they could well go down, whereas now they'll always have the cushion of the promoted team going straight back down.

    It's almost as though we want to promote teams but then want them to fail. Part and parcel of RL I guess.
    I think that's a good idea, but personally i would prefer three year franchises, with the possibility of a new team joining the league as a replacement or addition at the end of the three year cycle.

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    Observations on the posts by MGF and Pasty:

    1. That's always seemed only fair, and indeed a no-brainer, to me. We did it with Catalans and it seems to have worked (though they were given more than a year, and there were howls from those who said that Widnes (I think) were 'unfairly' relegated in their place).

    2. I was always in favour of franchising too (though it probably needs an organisation more competent than SL/the RL to manage it properly) but when we had it a lot of people hated the very idea, apparently on the grounds of tradition.

    The fact is that all systems have their pros and cons. The important thing is to make a decision and stick to it until (assuming it is a half-decent plan, which most of the ideas on here are) starts to pay off. The trouble is, as any businessman knows, you'll probably have to fund the losses in the early years and when the RL had the cash to do this (eg. supporting mergers) it didn't and now it hasn't two farthings to rub together it can't, so we panic every time the latest wheeze doesn't produce an instant payback and start again (almost) from scratch - just with our credibility damaged that bit further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DewiSant View Post
    Observations on the posts by MGF and Pasty:

    1. That's always seemed only fair, and indeed a no-brainer, to me. We did it with Catalans and it seems to have worked (though they were given more than a year, and there were howls from those who said that Widnes (I think) were 'unfairly' relegated in their place).

    2. I was always in favour of franchising too (though it probably needs an organisation more competent than SL/the RL to manage it properly) but when we had it a lot of people hated the very idea, apparently on the grounds of tradition.

    The fact is that all systems have their pros and cons. The important thing is to make a decision and stick to it until (assuming it is a half-decent plan, which most of the ideas on here are) starts to pay off. The trouble is, as any businessman knows, you'll probably have to fund the losses in the early years and when the RL had the cash to do this (eg. supporting mergers) it didn't and now it hasn't two farthings to rub together it can't, so we panic every time the latest wheeze doesn't produce an instant payback and start again (almost) from scratch - just with our credibility damaged that bit further.
    Yes good points.

    We shot ourselves in the foot by giving everything to Sky and putting it all into super league. We used to have several competitions: the League Winners, the Challenge Cup, Lancashire/ Yorkshire Cup, John Player Trophy,BBCTwo Floodlit Trophy. We could have kept another competition, reduced the need for the awful loop fixtures and sold the TV rights to BBC or Amazon or somebody. Instead we have rubbish 12 team wrestling competition with a second rate Challenge Cup which, at least, the BBC picks up.

    Where did we go wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MachineGunFunk View Post
    You're right, there are a lot of folk like you now, me for one, disillusioned in that the way the game is and has been run, which has just taken away the love, enjoyment and trust in it. I almost feel embarrassed at times to call myself a fan when I see some of the decisions.

    But to pick up on your point about relegation and going from part-time to full-time when all the good players have been snapped up. This is definitely an issue but there's a simple solution I reckon - the team that gets promoted cannot go do back down in their first year.

    In the case of Toulouse now, I'm not sure if they get the same funding as the other 11 teams, I know previously promoted teams haven't (eg Leigh last year), and they've only got a few months to improve their squad to the necessary level. So, rather than helping them along in making the move to the top table we make it as hard as possible for them compete and, pretty much in effect, set them up to fail.

    If they were given a one year exemption then they'd get a reasonable amount of time to make the transition but also, the perennial teams at the bottom that bring nothing to the competition - Salford, Huddersfield, Wakefield etc - would need to actually improve as they'd know they could well go down, whereas now they'll always have the cushion of the promoted team going straight back down.

    It's almost as though we want to promote teams but then want them to fail. Part and parcel of RL I guess.
    Preventing sides from being relegated just delays the inevitable, I’m not for ring fencing sides. I’d rather we got however many clubs we decide is right and ring fence the lot of them. Relegation doesn’t quite work in Rugby League.
    St Helens Rugby League Football Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    Preventing sides from being relegated just delays the inevitable, I’m not for ring fencing sides. I’d rather we got however many clubs we decide is right and ring fence the lot of them. Relegation doesn’t quite work in Rugby League.
    1. It didn't in the case of Catalans (perhaps the only real 'success story' RL can point to in the last 20 years)

    2. I don't know the details, but don't we 'ring fence the lot of them' at the moment, in the sense that a club has to apply to join the RL and I presume there is some sort of admission process? If so the question is really how do you manage movement of clubs up and down in that pool? (Unless 'the lot of them just means the elite, in which case isn't that just franchising?)

    3. Not sure how you reconcile your first statement with your last? (Not trying to be clever, just not sure if I'm missing something)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DewiSant View Post
    1. It didn't in the case of Catalans (perhaps the only real 'success story' RL can point to in the last 20 years)

    2. I don't know the details, but don't we 'ring fence the lot of them' at the moment, in the sense that a club has to apply to join the RL and I presume there is some sort of admission process? If so the question is really how do you manage movement of clubs up and down in that pool? (Unless 'the lot of them just means the elite, in which case isn't that just franchising?)

    3. Not sure how you reconcile your first statement with your last? (Not trying to be clever, just not sure if I'm missing something)
    Comparing Catalans to Leigh or Featherstone seems a bit like straw clutching. There was a very good reason why Catalans should have been ringfenced. There was an actual plan when it come to their inclusion in the competition, there would be little point to ring fencing Leigh or Featherstone and youíd be rewarding failure by keeping these clubs in the league for two years. For me, youíd be pandering to a very small handful of clubs who hope something magical would happen and theyíd stay in Super League, hanging on to the coat tails for eternity.

    Iíve never been a fan of promotion and relegation. It makes for the odd entertaining game for us fans in the form of Salford v Hull KR in the Million Pound Game but it does little for the game. As Iíve said, the promoted team starts their recruitment when the majority of the remaining Super League clubs have completed their recruitment for the following year. Weíre now at a point in time where we have thirteen or fourteen professional sides and a couple who claim they could go full time at the drop of a hat, itís not really the sort of depth you need for that, IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    Comparing Catalans to Leigh or Featherstone seems a bit like straw clutching. There was a very good reason why Catalans should have been ringfenced. There was an actual plan when it come to their inclusion in the competition, there would be little point to ring fencing Leigh or Featherstone and you’d be rewarding failure by keeping these clubs in the league for two years. For me, you’d be pandering to a very small handful of clubs who hope something magical would happen and they’d stay in Super League, hanging on to the coat tails for eternity.

    I’ve never been a fan of promotion and relegation. It makes for the odd entertaining game for us fans in the form of Salford v Hull KR in the Million Pound Game but it does little for the game. As I’ve said, the promoted team starts their recruitment when the majority of the remaining Super League clubs have completed their recruitment for the following year. We’re now at a point in time where we have thirteen or fourteen professional sides and a couple who claim they could go full time at the drop of a hat, it’s not really the sort of depth you need for that, IMO.
    Nothing I'd really argue with there. But the Catalans instance isn't clutching at straws. On the contrary (for once) we had a long(ish) term plan and stuck to it and it succeeded, which I think just supports the fundamental point I was trying to make in my first post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DewiSant View Post
    Nothing I'd really argue with there. But the Catalans instance isn't clutching at straws. On the contrary (for once) we had a long(ish) term plan and stuck to it and it succeeded, which I think just supports the fundamental point I was trying to make in my first post.
    I agree we need a stable league structure. I would ban relegation for the next two years but allow two clubs to be promoted at the end of the next season. After that I would have a playoff between bottom of super league and top of championship every other year so that every promoted team comes in knowing they have two years. Fourteen teams plus magic weekend and a top 5 play off would reduce the need for loop fixtures.

    I think the Challenge Cup needs to be revitalised, perhaps by having the top two divisions enter the comp at 32 teams to allow for some giant killings such as Featherstone v Wigan! I can imagine the BBC would like that. We need to move away from Sky to some extent and find other buyers. A top class knock out comp could be very useful for marketing and increasing TV revenue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pasty View Post
    I agree we need a stable league structure. I would ban relegation for the next two years but allow two clubs to be promoted at the end of the next season. After that I would have a playoff between bottom of super league and top of championship every other year so that every promoted team comes in knowing they have two years. Fourteen teams plus magic weekend and a top 5 play off would reduce the need for loop fixtures.

    I think the Challenge Cup needs to be revitalised, perhaps by having the top two divisions enter the comp at 32 teams to allow for some giant killings such as Featherstone v Wigan! I can imagine the BBC would like that. We need to move away from Sky to some extent and find other buyers. A top class knock out comp could be very useful for marketing and increasing TV revenue.
    You would need to work out how promotion works when a team wins the championship in a non promotion year. I do like the idea of promoted teams not being demoted after 1 season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    You would need to work out how promotion works when a team wins the championship in a non promotion year. I do like the idea of promoted teams not being demoted after 1 season.
    Yes,fair point. If it team wins the championship in a non promotion year it doesnít get promoted would be my suggestion.

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    Eric Perez (founder of Toronto Wolfpack, and the aborted Ottawa club) has set up a club in Cornwall.

    I hope it is successful. He may not be everyone's cup of tea, and has made some mistakes, but he's got his heart in the sport.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/59120702
    I f*cking hate wi*an.

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    I still think a franchise system for SL is the way forward, with the leagues below being a separate competition.

    Any club may apply for inclusion into the franchise - and have to demonstrate a track record of performance & attendances, plus ground standards, financial stability and business plan going forwards. This would allow ambitious non-SL clubs (or a club with an owner wanting to invest) the opportunity to get into the franchise. But it would prevent a club that doesn't have the attendances/financial resources getting into SL on the back on one good season and being promoted, then getting hammered every week.

    Similarly, existing franchise clubs must maintain minimum standards on performances (ie, repeatedly finishing bottom), attendances, financial stability, ground standards, etc. If they fail, they are demoted from SL.
    I f*cking hate wi*an.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    Eric Perez (founder of Toronto Wolfpack, and the aborted Ottawa club) has set up a club in Cornwall.

    I hope it is successful. He may not be everyone's cup of tea, and has made some mistakes, but he's got his heart in the sport.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/59120702
    Cornwall is the Rugby Union version of Cumbria. There is a lot of untapped potential there. If they are planning to take things seriously then that could be a very interesting place to have a team.
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    I still think a franchise system for SL is the way forward, with the leagues below being a separate competition.

    Any club may apply for inclusion into the franchise - and have to demonstrate a track record of performance & attendances, plus ground standards, financial stability and business plan going forwards. This would allow ambitious non-SL clubs (or a club with an owner wanting to invest) the opportunity to get into the franchise. But it would prevent a club that doesn't have the attendances/financial resources getting into SL on the back on one good season and being promoted, then getting hammered every week.

    Similarly, existing franchise clubs must maintain minimum standards on performances (ie, repeatedly finishing bottom), attendances, financial stability, ground standards, etc. If they fail, they are demoted from SL.
    I think they were doing well with the licensing system. The only problem they had, which always seems to be the problem with RL, is they didn't refine it. What they needed was some sort of live system that works similar to how the salary cap works. If a teams circumstances change they should be reassessed, so they move ground or change ownership they have to justify where they are in the structure. If they regularly fail on the field they can be told their spot isn't safe.

    Making teams like Leeds, Wigan and Saints put forward business plans every three years was pretty pointless and expensive. Especially when you had teams failings one year into a three year license and a lot of teams not meeting the minimum standards and being let in anyway.

    I would prefer all teams be assessed and told where they fit into the structure. How high can they get promoted to and how low they can get relegated. This would be a true hybrid system.
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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