Why the ARL Commision has been good for league
Until now, the de rigueur answer to the question “has the ARL Commission been good for the game” was “it’s too early to tell”.
Even the signing of a $1.025 billion dollar TV deal did not necessarily invite a more definitive answer than that. As we said in last week’s column, there was still the vexed question of how it would be spent – and uncertainty over how much groundwork the previous administration should be given credit for in reaching the landmark agreement.
But the signals coming out of League Central in the week since the announcement have been largely positive.
Yes, there will be a fighting fund. Yes, the ARLC is chasing the AFL’s number two administrator and is willing to throw a lot of money at him. No, the cash won’t go straight into the pockets of players. Sure, many of us would have liked stand-alone Origin weekends. We wanted a timetable set for expansion. We don’t like delayed telecasts of Sunday afternoon matches.
But one of the most impressive things emanating this year from Moore Park is silence. There are no leaks, the actions of the commission are largely inscrutable and when there have been secrets to be kept for just a few hours, in the case of the TV deal and David Gallop’s departure, they’ve been kept.
As a journalist, I want to find things out and report them first. But as a rugby league fan, I want my sport to release information in an orderly, dignified fashion. Conducting campaigns and manipulating the media are not the tactics for a multi-million-dollar business. Explain your actions when you are ready to, not every time someone asks.
It all makes my job harder but the operation better. So, has the Independent Commission been good for rugby league? I think we can now safely say yes.Still question marks over international matches
WE are just six or seven weeks away from the start of our so-called ‘international season’ and only a fraction of the games allegedly taking place have been confirmed.
We know Australia will host New Zealand at Dairy Farmers Stadium on October 13. We know Thailand are going to make their debut against the Philippines in Pattaya at week later. But the proposed US v Melbourne Storm game is off and the tri-series involving England, France and Wales is subject to rumours and speculation.
I’ve heard of games at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham and Craven Park in Hull and a final at the new City Of Salford Stadium – but none of this is confirmed.
The same goes for the European Cup, which was to involve England Bravehearts, Ireland, Scotland and Italy. Italy’s involvement seems to be hanging by a thread. Craig Gower told me last week he had been invited to play but had declined, citing niggling injuries.
But Italian official Tiziano Franchini said on Skype last night he was still waiting for news one way or another.
Let’s hope this grand plan to lay out seven years of international fixtures in advance comes to fruition soon. Twenty rounds of NRL scheduling will save us all a lot of money in travel costs. The same goes for planning international games more than a few weeks ahead.Let’s go to the comments
STOJO said Sevens rugby union was completely different to league and because they already have an Australian team, they should be the men who go to the Olympics. But from what I am told, the team is likely to be made up of first choice Wallabies – not the current Sevens team. Look at Shaun Johnson – he’d like to play and there are initial indications the All Blacks are interested. Australia should adopt a similar open outlook.
Tony P talked about growing attendances. The new stadia policy is supposed to do this, by leveraging the clubs’ joint financial muscle for more affordable food, double-headers and other spectator-friendly initiatives. But everyone seems to have gone quiet on this front over the last month or so.
Aussie Tom says we spend time worrying about the AFL and they don’t worry about us. I think the fact we are trying to poach their number two administrator bears this out – but with good reason. They are national, have cash reserves and are encroaching on our territory. There’s three things they are doing effectively that we are not.
Jim asked if any of the new TV money was going to be spent on international development. No – it will be spent within Australia as far as we have so far been told. Yes, the Four Nations has been included in the deal. Here at Discord, we think ALL internationals should be sold by the RLIF and levied to fund international development. One day, one day.
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