By now you have no doubt heard the thoughts of Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash who floated the idea that Super League clubs should break away from the RFL.
I consider Koukash to be the smartest person in the British game by a very, very long way. He came into Rugby League knowing nothing about the sport, and within the space of 4 months he knew enough about how the game worked to start making some very good changes at his own club, while also bringing up some of the obvious problems the game in Great Britain faced.
A few years down the track, Koukash has no doubt that the game is poorly run, and he has no problems saying as much in a public forum. That is a hell of a lot more than other people within the British game are willing to do.
So, do I agree with Koukash that Super League clubs should break away from the RFL?
I think the RFL is a catastrophic disaster that holds the game back. I think they waste money hand over fist. I think they are short sighted. I think they are terribly run. I think they favour some clubs over others. I think the majority of decisions they make actually hurt the game.
The RFL needs replaced. I have zero faith in the people running Rugby League in Great Britain. On the RFL’s watch, the game is dying.
I think that rather than Super League clubs breaking away from the rest of the sport, the better move would be to see the RFL replaced with a modern governing body, one that was accountable for its mistakes and for the way it uses money. I would like to see a small, streamlined, independent commission running Rugby League in Great Britain. One that didn’t just represent small parts of northern England, one that represented all of Great Britain and had a focus on growing the game across Britain.
The game in Great Britain needs a governing body who isn’t just thinking about the game at the top level in Yorkshire. There needs to be a focus on junior development, on Womens Rugby League, on building a national Rugby League 9’s competition, on schoolboy Rugby League, on getting more schools playing the game across the entire country….its a very big job and one that the RFL is failing to do.
Rugby League in Great Britain needs to be brought up to modern standards. It needs to be run like a business. Standards need to be raised, not just by throwing money at problems, but by bringing experts in from Australia and New Zealand to help lift coaching, refereeing and playing standards.
By the way, when I say experts, I mean the best of the best. Not reserve grade standard rubbish that only head over to the UK because that the only paying gig they can get!
We need less stupid, chest beating media releases in the British game and more honest assessments of where the game is currently situated. When an organisation claims playing numbers are rising and yet it is losing funding because raw data is showing the opposite, something is very, very wrong.
So Koukash is right about the RFL, but I think a break away by Super League clubs is the wrong thing to aim for.
I think with the right people involved, Koukash would have no problems overturning the current RFL administration if the goal was to establish a modern governing body that can effectively run the game at all levels.