RFL resources drained by micro-managing clubs in licensing system

Scrapping the licensing system will free up RFL resources to seek out commercial opportunities, according to the Policy Review that will be revealed in full this week.

After a lengthy consultation process, an EGM on Wednesday will finally see the outcome of the review, conducted to improve the game as a whole.

Much of the focus on the review has been on the structure of the leagues, but it has focused on all elements of the game.

In documents, seen by Love Rugby League, that have been sent out to clubs, the RFL delivers a strong message that “inappropriate and poor local club decision making” has damaged the sport both “financially and reputationally”.

It also states that since the introduction of licensing, endless RFL resource has been taken up by the administrative demands of the system, one of the reasons why the restoration of promotion and relegation has featured prominently in the proposed changes.

Over the past six years, it is felt within that the RFL have spent too much time picking up the pieces at club level, bailing out several clubs, and not maximising the game’s commercial potential.

One section of the review includes: “The responsibility for club performance falls predominantly upon the directors and management of each club. The RFL should be freed up to improve the commercial and operational performance of the sport, and not micro-manage the performance of individual clubs.”

It is acknowledge that the licensing system does have benefits, but that they “do not outweight the negatives that occur as a consequence of it”, and the focus now is on presenting a re-structure that offers commercially compelling games and games that are attractive to broadcasters.

Another priority of the review has been to ensure unity between all sections of the game, entitled the “Whole Sport Solution”.

It reads: “Each constituent part of the sport has a responsibility to ensure the good health of the entire game. In accepting this responsibility each constituency must therefore help to facilitate a whole sport solution as part of this review, binding each component part into the future commercial and operational success of the sport. 

“A fractured sport riven with allegations and recriminations between SL clubs, Championships clubs and the community game will be doomed to failure.”

It promises to be a turbulent week for the game.

With the EGM set for Wednesday, there are reports that Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan is calling for Super League clubs to completely reject the proposals, and it is believed he already has the support of half of the 14 clubs.

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