Phil Gould reiterates belief NRL should purchase Super League, suggests club appetite for deal

Aaron Bower
Phil Gould

Australian rugby league icon Phil Gould has again suggested the NRL should follow through and purchase Super League for the good of the world game – and insists he believes there is appetite from clubs for a deal.

The NRL have a long-held interest in potentially acquiring and subsequently running Super League, but it is widely believed that there would be no appetite from the sport’s powerbrokers in the UK over the prospect of a deal being struck.

However, Gould has stated that he has spoken to several club owners who would privately support a deal and believes that the NRL effectively running the sport on a global scale would have positive ramifications for domestic and international rugby league.

“More than ever in our history, rugby league has a chance to go to another level.. I honestly believe the NRL should buy the Super League,” Gould said.

“The NRL needs to be the EPL (English Premier League) in world rugby league, as it is for soccer in that part of the world. We could build the European game and the Super League game.

“I was contacted after those comments by several of the top owners in the UK saying that they think the NRL would be pushing against an open door if they wanted to talk about it. The clubs would have as much support was possible. The Super League is not doing as well financially as it possibly could.”

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Gould was challenged on his belief by former Kangaroos international Paul Gallen, who said: “My question is why? Is it a business decision? You’re competing against soccer, the world game in England.

“A few of those clubs are privately owned, are they going to want to sell to the NRL? I think the best players from the UK make their way to Australia anyway. I think we should be shoring up our own shores here and putting our money into grass roots footy.”

But Gould reiterated that he felt it would have a massive impact on the whole of the sport – as well as potentially increasing the stream of players available to clubs in the NRL as they prepare for more expansion on a domestic level in the coming years.

He said: “We have an international board, but it’s a toothless tiger and it fills in international football when it can. We need a rolling five-year calendar for domestic, international and other forms of representative rugby league and it can only be done if you’ve got one governing body for the lot.

“It can be another source of player development here. We can help the UK with their development of youngsters. I think we need to help them and from an international standpoint, if the NRL is running world rugby league, we could go to a five, ten-year calendar and organise our domestic competitions. It’s a big job, but I think rugby league can go to another level.”

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