>>The RFU has been driven by money just as much as the clubs and players.
>While the RFU certainly are interested in money, I don't think that I
>believe they make it as high a priority as some other elements. One big
>dispute originally was whether they should have taken more money from Sky
>or less money from the BBC/ITV. Some still argue that it would have served
>the interests of the game more to have gone with less money and more
>exposure, but there was certainly pressure to generate finances to fund the
>professional game. The fact that there is even debate shows that some
>people believe money isn't everything.
True, but the bottom line was the RFU took the TV option which brought most
cash into the coffers [so greatly annoying many fans of course]. The other big
issue was getting gate income from internationals, and the decision [last
autumn's tests] miximised income.
Again, there was a chance England could have been kicked out of the 5N which
partly explains why there have been so many internationals this season, but
the reason England's place in the 5N was under threat was, yep, money.
[Brittle and the recent RFU/club agreement]
>However look at the agreement the RFU have secured, and i think you can see
>why he [Brittle] tried to stay involved:
>The clubs promise to release players -- well if they hadn't said this there
>is no way the RFU could have signed the deal (although the clubs are
>compelled to do anything to improve things -- just look at the Bateman
>situation, he is fit to play for Wales, but without an operation now he
>will miss some games for Richmond. You tell me who has primacy?)
Well, it ain't the WRU certainly :-). The Bateman case seems weired, as I
understand it Bateman need a nose operation, but is not hindered from playing.
If he has his operation on return from tour would he in fact miss Richmond
>They are going to 'aim' for 37 games a season for the top players. And then
>what? This kind of intention is all well and good, but I'm pessimistic
>about its ability to solve anything. As far as I can see there is just no
>requirement to make anyone do this, or any penalties for failing.
The 37 game limit and playing league games on international weekends does have
a makeshift feel to it, and I agree it might all break down again. Goodwill
might just have returned to the parties though. I live in hope rather than
>England are now basically limited to half a dozen games a season, but what
>if there is interest in England playing more, and it would be better for
>the team if they want to compete with other international sides who will be
>playing together more?
Yep, there is a conflict - especially the way the season is fragmented at the
moment. It remains a massive challenge to get things satisfactory, not least
because of the other nations involved.
>The stated policy is now to get the 5 Nations moved. All well and good in
>principle, but it simply isn't just the RFU and the clubs' decision.
>However, having seen the style of 'negotiation' over the European Cup, I
>think we can have a pretty good idea what to expect.
It's not as if the other 5N countries are happy with their season at the
moment though, Ben. With the 6N soon to start, that could be a good time to
try to move internationals to the end of the season.
>The top division is to be increased. That is exactly what we need right?
>More games and spread the quality out a bit more. I don't think so.
I completely agree the size of the leagues is too big. What's more, the lack
of relegation/promotion is a disgrace.
>And overall, what concessions do you think the RFU's master negotiating
>team managed to get that weren't always going to have to be part of any
>deal? I think the RFU negotiated themselves nothing.
Well, with Brittle sidelined and Cotton having resigned, it is possible the
remaining RFU administrators have got what they expected all along. There's a
long way to go before stability is reached, clearly.
>>>Yep those administrators have a lot to answer for. Personally though I
>>>blame all those millions of people who are interested in the England side,
>>>if they just would think for a minute they might see how much they are
>>>inconviencing the tens of thousands who support local clubs -- a handful of
>>>whom have millions of pounds and therefore must know what is best for
>>Which completely differentiates them from Brittle and Cotton???
>I'm sorry, wasn't Cliff Brittle elected? Isn't Cotton an elected RFU
>representative? And here we are not talking about popular support for
>someone who is waiving a chequebook around.
It could be argued Brittle and Cotton's vision of the future is in fact a
vision of the past, and has always been completely unworkable. These people
were definitely not elected by the senior clubs, after all. Democracy has
meant the top 20 or so clubs have been effectively disenfranchised, when it is
clear their needs are completely different to the junior clubs. On the other
hand, any club owner who's primary interest is making a profit is also doomed
to disappointment in my view.
>>Ben, can you really not see the club's point of view at all? You always
>>approach the topic from the angle the RFU are right, and never admit they have
>>made any mistakes whatsoever. Isn't RFU = good, clubs = bad is just a little
>>bit one sided?
>I think I can see the clubs' viewpoint completely. And I'm sure they
>believe that what they are doing is for the best of rugby in England. I
>can't believe anybody would ever think that people like Peter Wheeler,
>Geoff Cooke or Rob Andrew would set out to shaft the national side. But
>they are now all in positions in which they would really struggle to
>separate out their own interests, and those of the clubs they are part of
>and have invested their efforts into, from the views they have of what is
>now best for England.
That isn't so far from my view.
>The fact that those involved with the clubs naturally will find it
>difficult to separate what is best for their clubs from what is best
>overall, coupled with the fact that the people who have real power at many
>of the clubs [the owners] are not answerable to anybody, to me lies at the
>heart of the problem with the current direction in England.
That sums up the problem from the club angle.
>Somebody on this group
>the other day (can't remember who) told a regular Southern Hemipshere
>poster (maybe Tony Elson?) that his views on the problems caused by the
>clubs weren't needed, and that since he wasn't part of things he didn't
>understand -- basically to mind his own business. For one thing this was
>just really dumb, since the thing about Usenet is you *do* get to hear
>other people's opinons -- whether you agree with them or not.
Although some posters want the group to be "nation shall speak unto nation",
others do want to replace "speak" with something less pleasant :-).
>But it really
>struck me that this is exactly the problem in England at the moment. The
>attitude seems to be that only those intimately involved with clubs can
>understand what clubs have to offer. this in itself should flag a problem.
>But worse, not only is not really listening to other views incredibly
>short-sighted, but if people who have nothing to gain can see a problem
>then maybe it is time to reappraise your position.
Yep. We can all see there is a problem. This hasn't been helped by the
polarised views of the RFU under Brittle and Cotton, and Sir John Hall et al.
Hopefully middle ground has been reached whilst people work for a lasting
>I know clubs like Leicester
>have developed strong ties to junior clubs (like Norwich), and so are
>playing a role at improving rugby lower down the ladder. But I personally
>believe whatever strides are made in individual cases aren't what is needed
>on a global level. That's why I am very skeptical of thse moves to
>strengthen the clubs at the expense of the RFU (and who has what pwoer lies
>at the heart of the debate). Maybe the RFU haven't been running things as
>well as they should, but I think the solution is for the RFU to run them
>better, not for the clubs to assume the power.
It has a long way to go, but it looks like there is some positive movement
towards a more sensible approach at the top of the club game. I'm even less
qualified to comment much on junior club matters :-). What does seem to be
happening is a much more rapid development of young players by the clubs,
which is good for the international side.
>Finally back to the topic of the thread, the 'blame the administrators not
>the players' perspective. This suggests that the players are powerless to
>influence events. That simply is not true. Likewise while the
>administrators have made a mess of things, they aren't completely to blame
>and there certainly was logic underlying what they were trying to do. They
>are being criticised by people using the benefit of hindsight in a lot of
Of course hindsight comes into it enormously, and I was partly trying to get a
more detailed view from you using hyperbole :-). The reason for the current
tour debacle regarding unavailable players lies with both parties in my view.
>>ps Glad you haven't completely deserted us :-).
>Well I always try to check in (although I've been busy both with work and
>before that with coaching commitments to the University rugby team). But
>there is less and less worth discussing it seems. Besides, being a noted
>Tigerphobe, I'm struggling to come terms with believing Neil Back was the
>player of the year this season. :-)
And only one Bath player in the
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