Editor’s column: Enough is enough

Just when you thought it was safe to get excited about a new season, a Super League full of superb new signings and an intriguing Championship line-up, politics yet again rears its head.

All of the good press achieved when Catalans Dragons achieved Challenge Cup success back in August has been undone by the absurd request for them to pay a bond to enter a competition.

The bond in itself isn’t the worst idea in the world and is relatively responsible from the RFL – but it makes no sense to be asking for it now, after the Dragons have been in the competition for more than a decade.

They have shot themselves in the foot for yet another embarrassing own goal for rugby league, which seems to be stumbling from one nonsense to another on an alarmingly regular basis.

Fans are turning away from the game, make no mistake about that. They are getting tired of the embarrassments served up by the governing body, itself now marginalised by the establishment of a separate executive for Super League.

Toronto are asked for a bond, despite turning down their central funding to facilitate their participation in the league, while Nigel Wood has sailed off in to the sunset of the back of a frankly outrageous pay-off, as well as claiming a tidy consultancy fee for supposedly progressing the New York bid – how’s that going?

How much longer is this going to go on?

Any attempts to expand the game in its current state are almost futile, because nobody is going to be attracted to the sport in its current mess.

We thought a line had been drawn by the conclusion of the structuring talks last year, which itself had dragged on for far too long.

Yet here we are – more rule changes, supposedly to improve the quality of the game, and of course the bad press generated by the Catalans story.

We still have no confirmation of internationals in 2019, despite the constant narrative that they are the be all and end all, while the Championship TV coverage debate rumbles on.

Rugby league’s showpiece events are marred by banks of empty seats, like at Magic Weekend and the Challenge Cup final, and at the same time as fans complaining about high ticket prices as well as walking away, we’re asking why there are no sponsors queuing up to support the game. That should be obvious.

We’re just over three weeks away from kick-off – here’s hoping that will go some way to distracting from the off-field shenanigans which have dominated and stunted the game for the past decade.

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