From the people that brought you ideas such as “You can switch which nation you play for immediately after a World Cup”, the RLIF will conduct and immediate review of international eligibility rules.
Now my first questions is…why?
I am the first person to say that the games eligibility rules are completely broken. Just take a look at all the articles I have written saying as much. The thing that concerns me is, what is the reason the RLIF is looking at eligibility rules.
You would hope that they have looked at some of the ridiculous selections certain international teams have made in recent years and see a need to tighten rules right up. Things such as the “grandparent rule” and the 3 years residency rule just flat out need to be scrapped. If the RLIF is looking to change those rules, I would be all for it.
The problem is, nothing is ever that straight forward in international Rugby League. The people making the decisions have their own agendas. Would the people within the RLIF who work for the RFL in England honestly put forward rule changes that would hurt the ability of Wales, Scotland and Ireland to select teams full of English and Australian players whose grandparents were born in those nations? Would they push through rule changes that would see all three of those nations tumble down the RLIF’s ridiculous world rankings list?
Would the head of the RFL, who holds a place on the RLIF board, approve a rule change that could see the likes of Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the like beating England on a regular basis? I don’t think they would.
Like all things within Rugby League, the self interests of those involved in this decision making process will be the only thing considered when a decision is made.
Will the head of the NRL put in place rules that would stop Australia pillaging other nations, picking their best players at test level and in the State Of Origin series, and weaken the Australian team in the process? It would be the right thing to do for the games greater good, but do you think that would ever be on the agenda of the RLIF?
When this review is completed we will have answers to all of these questions.
Stop nation swapping. Scrap the grandparent rule. Scrap the residency rule.
It still wouldn’t go far enough for me, but it would be a really good step in the right direction.