RFL Media Briefing Part 1

RFL boss Nigel Wood spoke to the media today on a number of issues and subjects in the game.

Wood covered topics such as the England national team, international eligibility, disciplinary, the Super 8s, the salary cap, refereeing and more in his talk.

Here is a selection of the topics raised and Wood’s views on them:

ENGLAND

– The England national team will have a new spokesperson/public face.

“We’re aware that England rugby league doesn’t have a public face currently within in the RFL, and we’ll be correcting that in the next month so. We will be making an appointment of a permanent England coach to be based in England and there will be other significant appointments of people who can represent the England perspective.”

England will have a mid-year international next year with the opposition to be determined, to take place either in the UK or the southern hemisphere. It is most likely to be played on or around May 7.

“We’re just working out who that will be against and where that will take place.”

ENGLAND KNIGHTS

– The England Knights program is on hold for the time being, likely until after the 2017 World Cup.

“There’s a bit of hiatus on that until we understand who is available to play against them”.

INTERNATIONAL ELIGIBILITY
– The RLIF has been looking at international eligiblitybility.

“Those recommendations have been tabled last week and now have been circulated for comment. It’s unlikely anything will happen that will affect the Four Nations.

“There won’t be an international free for all. The rules, as they are currently written, are broadly in the tight place, there might be some changes in the margins that might improve circumstances for the Tier 2 nations. It may be something that allows players to move between, say Australia and Samoa, providing their eligible.

“The relationship between the Tier 1 Nations of Australia, England and New Zealand is unlikely to be disturbed.”

– The residency period is being looked at and could be lengthened from three years.

“That’s one of the possibilities.”

England will select players eligible for England under the current rules, including those born in other countries ie Trent Hodkinson.

“Whatever the rules are we’ll play by [them].”

SUPER LEAGUE GENERAL MANAGER
– The recruitment process for the Super League general manager is continuing.

“I understand that we’ve got a very good response and there’s north of 20 credible applicants. We hope to make an appointment as quickly as possible.

– Wood would not comment if acting GM Mark Foster is a candidate for the position permanently.

DISCIPLINARY     
– The RFL is open to looking at improving the disciplinary process.

“It would be wrong if I said we weren’t open to reviewing everything at every time. If there are some improvements that can be made, we’re all ears to that.

“I would hate if it’s that presented as it’s a system in crisis – because its not…. It’s not as broken as people think.

“We have to be careful that the integrity of the process is thorough and not disturbed by external considerations.”

REFEREES
– The RFL has no plans to introduce the bunker to Super League or bringing in a two referee system like that used in the NRL. It is in discussions with Sky and stakeholders about the role of the video referee in games.

“We’re not looking at a bunker, that’s a definite. We do need to understand what the role of the video referee is.

“I would hate us to go down the road to led to more stoppages and more interventions.”

SUPER 8s
– The Super 8s format will not be changed for next year.

“I think the Super 8s has started really strongly. I know the litmus test for everybody is will someone get promoted.”

“It’s revitalized the top end of the Championship. We’ve got more full-time athletes than we’ve ever had…. I’m happy with it.”

SALARY CAP
Championship and League 1 salary caps to be increased to be brought in line with Super League.

“There will be one salary cap system for the leagues so if you’ve got an entrepreneurial owner who wants to invest in getting their club up the divisions then there wont be any, you want have to worry about different regulations in different leagues.

“The key is not to give any club a separate provision to anyone else. So every club has to play under the same rules.  There’s an affordability criteria where it has to be 50% of it stays there…. Going forward there’s just one salary cap that will be applicable across the top 40 clubs. The 50% rule will count for everybody.

“There’s a finite salary cap where you can spend up to £1.85 million, or 50% [of your relevant income], whichever is lower. If your income is £2million you can’t spend £1.5 million, you can only spend a £1 million.

– The Super League clubs will discuss ways of increasing/modifying the salary cap at the end of the season.

“That will be looked at again, but it’s a club decision… the reality is the salary cap is by the clubs and for the clubs.”

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