Is it time for mandatory fan ownership?
I am a free market neoclassical advocate but I detest the direction of the game. Too many stakeholders involved in RL are trying to milk the sport and forge a career, Directors, CEO’s, “marketing experts”, consultants, agents etc, most are not needed and all are not compatible with how the game should be administrated.
I suggest, we introduce mandatory rules of fan ownership (similar to German football) where clubs are ran from the community up, ran for success, ran for local pride, ran to be the hub of the town.
Not ran to make profit or pay large salaries to directors. Rl is hostage to SKY and expansion, because the people driving expansion after trying to expand their financial portfolio, it is not done for the good of the game.
Can't argue with your basic premise Spike, that is how Elstone and Rimmer justify their salaries, they see themselves as big movers in the nations sporting tradition.
If you step back to the start of our game and to just before Sky arrived, the founders were not supporters of 'professional' rugby, simply allowing players to make good earnings lost due to playing the game.
The charge of 'professionalism' came from the wealthy public school sector who ran the RU game. Then, of course, Wigan decided that they could climb the greasy pole easier with contracted players. Others followed and lost their financial grip on the game, ran out of cash, and had to accept Sky's offer to save themselves.
Time moves on and hardly any truly amateur sport exists these days.
Just how we escape from this mess nobody knows, but the way Widnes has called on local fan support could/should show the way imo. There do seem to be some smaller financially flush businessmen who want to 'invest' but not enough to save every club.
Your German model would be almost a reversion to our original pattern but I cant see it happening. Maybe the hard economic times ahead will bring changes for the better by forcing revised ideas, I certainly hope so.
I accept your points mate but I still think that a sport who’s base revenue outside of tv money, is a net of around £6/10m, shouldn’t be a sport that is made for profit.
With the right conditions, fan or community ownership can easily be achieved, without sacrificing professionalism. Widnes is a prime example, our administration came about as a result of money been taken out of the club, with the right financial management, Widnes like every other club can be sustainable without external investment.
True, we probably could self-fund but if our competitors have access to private finance to top up their bank balance we would struggle to sign players in the open market.
The game as a whole is already seeing a reduction in its marketability, hence Sky's drop in contract offered. I do think that fans generally are tired of the cost of the SL/RFL split depriving clubs and the game of funds.
Been said before but until a real leader steps up and sets out a more common sense approach we will paddle on.
I'm not sure how the French ' Elite' league is funded but they have struggled for years outside SL anx now look to have started to come good at last. Maybe we could learn something from them.
No. For a start you would lose about 50% of teams as there just isn't the interest.
How many lower league clubs would survive, never mind SL? If they were to do anything it should be that clubs have to commit so much/little spending to certain parts of the club i.e. the board, youth or stadiums.
For a sport that as you mentioned is financially poor there should also be a limit to how much the RFL can spend. Salary cap them!
Would be interesting to see if they take a reduction in pay!
There is 0 chance. But that is because a massive part of the sport is controlled by half a dozen or so self elected clowns who are accountable to absolutely nobody.
Some even get to write their own pay-offs when leaving!
Now this is a separate issue to the clubs and ownership etc., as the clubs should be running themselves properly, but smacks of the leadership at the top.
The ownership part is self fulfilling. If clubs had enough interest from fans a lot wouldn't need to be fan owned in the first place.
I think they should set some rules, stick to them and then if it means some clubs go to the wall as they're not viable any more then so be it unfortunately. Would make the big salaries at the top even less justifiable then though....
Iirc the dropping of the franchise system was to please many of the Yorkshire clubs who could never match up to the criteria set in place for SL eligibility. The architect of that was Lewis and as he returned to tennis Big Nige stepped in. Hence we still have SL and Championship clubs with SL aspirations playing in 19th century grounds.
The game has moved on, like it or lump it, but the decrepit stadia don't attract this century's youth. We had to go through that change and it didn't help our viability at the time.
We have all said it and keep saying it, the game needs new and more enlightened management. It needs to re-invent itself in some way, with or without SL. A better organised Championship might attract BT sports or the Beeb but Sky seem to have us in a straight-jacket, not on TV but barely seeing any benefits from it!
Even a pretty cheap TV deal, just for the Championship clubs could well see a bigger payout for the clubs.