RLEF Problems, Changed Demanded & International Rugby League Controversy Continues

The weekend has again created controversy after the pursuit of instant gratification and lack of focus on what really  matters in nations has seen another nation joining the growing list of angst among rugby league nations. The upsets of France and England by sides full of Australian and New Zealand players in USA and Italy, albeit against a solid English side that mentally may have not turned up, has put a shadow over the big issues in such nations with the apparent attitude that they will go not away without  effective resolutions.

The unlikely wins of what fans are calling the “Australia-Italy” side and “United States of Australia” and has been labelled an historic and famous victories. The teams have arrived in the Northern hemisphere causing  upsets with an early life in rugby league and giving the impression similar to the Jamaican Bobsled 1988 Winter Olympics wonder story, except in reality littered with Australian players from NRL clubs and their feeder clubs who have stated pre-RLWC they will play for USA or Italy until they can be given a chance in State of Origin or for Australia or knocked back by another nation and are “hopeful of getting a professional contract after the World Cup”. I’m sure the players want to make people in the country proud without saying it, but truth is no one will know it is on!

Hardcore international fans and those who are speaking out have been asking the question can this World Cup really be credible. Their approaches are based on a quick grab and hiding the problems beneath the glamour rather than genuine development in the nation, while creating farces and angst among the people involved in those nations. Post RLWC from what is being circulated online could result in little clubs left in the official USA competition after the backlash of US rugby league people with the USARL body having a strong stable competition, youth and lower grade teams and an ignored Italian rebels group who are developing rugby league strongly, they have said over 50 teams in only 4 seasons, the official body has claimed 10 in 18 years. Isn’t it obvious after 3 years of splits the rebels from both nations they are committed?

The Italians and American authorities running rugby league from Australia speak of opportunities, great development work and impressive rise in player performance in the nation, but the real evidence exposing very much the opposite. A federation that spends many years and funding to develop rugby league in the country and develop the players, but results in a championship over a couple of weeks and overwhelming that the “strong domestic development” is more a half-hearted PR stunt to appease rugby league’s officials, while unable to provide full evidence and political statements ignoring the issues and questioning of fans. The players given an impression they will have an opportunity to go to a World Cup, but has resulted in disappointment, heart ache and damage. Why spend money on a half-hearted approach in the country when the result will be scouring every corner of top competitions in Australia, shouldn’t they keep spending on the development in Australia instead?

Success can be credited but not with PR stunts and routine regurgitated quotes like “phenomenal growth”, “great effect on players in..” and “it shows great development and growth here” after using so many heritage players but real lack of growth. The 2017 RLWC should be given the green light to Australia. We all know it will save a lot of money and logistical work as very similarly to the last few decades it will still show a local scene with lack of results, press releases with BIG this and GREAT that and it is shows exciting development but no prove of it. Rugby League Growth should reflect the movement in a country.


The Rugby League Spotlight can reveal a number of European nations behind the scenes WANT CHANGE (without naming) with a big rift exposed among the grapevine and PRESSURE falls directly on Danny Kazandjian. The loss of RLEF Major Sponsorship of AlItalia (50k) after it is revealed the decision to minimise the European Cup and replace a nation with the England A team is what caused the AlItalia to walk out. While, the continuing farce favourable treatment toward one nation nation and ignoring the split in Italy ranks is ranked highly in terms of embarrassment to some nations. Other complaints have been lack of ongoing and more effective coaching and refereeing resources, claiming nations good development as RLEF work after no RLEF involvement (or little) and rugby league going backward, stagnant or nearly extinct in member federations such as Ireland, Italy, Germany, Russia, Morocco and others. There is even a concerning rift in Super league and clubs demand change. While he has stated to be a mediator of the Italian issues, but any fan can see the disagreements have went worse between the two federations with inaction, apart from copy and paste press releases.

The French rugby league public has now joined the long line of fans not happy with the farcical developments with one top French club stating “In France everyday this is a battle to built something. Héritage players kill all our work.” “Next time France will play with David Fifita, Paleasina, Temata, Vinnie Anderson, Troy Savage, Dane Chisholm, Dominique Peyroux, Scott Dureau, Tony Duggan, Ryan O’Hara maybe Remi Casty and why not Steve Menzies or Leon Pryce ?” There have been other leaks of issues the French…

The media media exposure of teams labelled Italian and USA national teams WITHIN THEIR OWN COUNTRY is reminiscent of crickets in grazing paddocks – fans and people in the game on both Rebel Federations have said this is because the very little player representation and those national sides are organised predominantly Australian group in Australia with Australian Media Managers targeting Sydney media – another farce?! Rebel groups have had more major and national media exposure in papers and television from their domestic competitions. But increasing the awareness of the USA and Italy sides to the Australian Rugby league publics is a great initiative. Hoping will not deliver.

It can be revealed a number of International Rugby League websites have publicly stated on their twitter accounts and websites they have been threatened with legal action by the Federazione Italiana Rugby League and previously by the old AMNRL board with websites promoting the issues.

One rugby league fan put it very well:

“My issue is specifically with the Italians. I consider myself well read when it comes to international RL, but have never read a single word suggesting that there is any local interest – the occasional game is played over there, and they can draw on “rugby” players in their off season. I would be astonished if this result got any coverage at all in Italy. I would eat humble pie if anyone can show me a link to any local reporting of this game or anything to do with Italian RL. I cannot see how it can be beyond our game to devise minimum guidelines for participation in the World Cup, if 1) we want to avoid looking ridiculous and 2) we believe there is some ongoing purpose to letting nations play, such as some development/investment. Perhaps we could look at player numbers, coverage, levels of investment, minimum numbers of local players in the group. It would not be hard. From what I have read, they are the worst examples. In the USA, they have been playing for a long time, and clearly have massive schism issues, but there are some green shoots. Likewise, purely by their proximity, I can see the logic behind Scotland and Ireland taking part. The RFL can run competitions there. Italy has nothing going for it. Within 7 days, this group of Sydneysiders on tour with funny names can succeed in making England a “laughing stock” (as per Fox Sports) and defeating a Welsh team at home, which is looking to build on genuine foundations for the first time in its 100 years, and trying heroically to do so, if I may say. The tragedy is the sheer pointlessness of it all.”

It is obvious the RLEF need to act and RLEF needs change before the credibility and development of the nations is damaged more. Nations in future need to have greater domestic development with a compromise of 50-75% and if true growth cannot be shown than do not have a large World Cup. If transparency and reforms from the start would avoid these issues. How can any genuine sporting person accept rugby league nations run on the other side of the world? The need to be an executive but in a overseas groups and money chasers (see failed USA backroom deals) is the self-interest that is stopping the game uniting. Act now, stand up!

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3 Responses to RLEF Problems, Changed Demanded & International Rugby League Controversy Continues

  1. Corey October 20, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Fully agree. This is ridiculous. Look at Lebanon. Really got a good local comp going, and they have been very close a couple of times, only to be beaten by sides who plump up there ranks with NRL and Super League players.

    I think America will continue to grow, though, I think there sports milieu is used to such controversies, and splits eventually uniting to form a “super” code, e.g. MBL (ALC, NLC), NFL (NFC, AFC), NBA (AL, NL).

    I think the RLEF was doing a great job for a long time. Don’t hinder the sport now by some “great” idea that helps the already established nations. Let England A play the winner of the Cup, not be involved in the whole comp. Let’s strengthen the new nations at the grass roots, that’s where you develop a unique style for your own country and what makes it a beautiful game to watch.

  2. greg luland November 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    There is much here I agree with but I also think that the actual fact at this point in time is that you have to play in Australia or Super League to get the experience and skills to be an elite player. the game is growing in the most seemingly unlikely nations. Yes the rules will have to change but we could not put the whole international game on hold for another decade while we waited for new full professional elite rugby league competitions in places like north america and Europe. We needed to have the RLWC NOW and no matter what the issues are we ARE getting the best world cup so far held, with outstanding footy across the board.
    I foresee the end of the AMNRL as it looks certain now that the players and afilliated clubs will go over to the USARL, add some success and things are looking up there. I am an Australian but I no longer want us to be the sole owners of the game. Australians have been trying to spread the game for a long time but of course the big money clubs are just that, BIG MONEY and as such are prone to self interest. The RLIF must be updated and strengthened and I agree that the best result would be all international teams were comprised of only players from the home grown comp but we are living in a professional world, only a tyrant would insist that Englishmen playing in the NRL should be barred from representing their country and the same if there is an outstanding Australian playing for Widnes is eligible to play for Australia. The current reality is that to be the best you have to move to Australia or UK/France to play in SL to be elite. Fact is to be a consistent elite sportsman today, a professional beats the amateur easily.
    So I agree in many parts but I will argue some of it. The RLWC is THE elite rugby league competition and just like all big professional sports you need to be an elite player to succeed at the highest level. One day there will be many local players to represent USA, Canada Italy etc. The international body just has to be rearranged and it is up to them eventually to sort it out at home and get their local competitions to a high standard. Rome was not built in a day, if we all get together, players, clubs, fans and nations we can revamp the game. I cannot stand Rugby Union and will never watch it again, even if the game of Rugby League somehow disastrously ceased to exist I would never go over to the lesser code as I know that Union does not have a player in the class of a Billy Slater, and never ever has. As an Australian I have been lucky to see the greatest Rugby players on earth and by that I mean in either League or Union. Players like Andrew Johns and Billy Slater in particular, both would have been the greatest thing Union ever saw, thank god they never turned traitor.
    Right now, all I care about is watching all the games of the 2013 RLWC, it’s time to sit back and enjoy, once it is over then lets get this game sorted because there is no football code to match this one for pure spectacle, all the other football codes are very very top heavy in defense and as a result points hard to come by, with soccer and Union being as boring as watching paint dry. Rugby league has a perfect balance between attack and defense, result, EXCITEMENT.

  3. greg luland November 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    The AMNRL clubs and players stayed with Niu and the AMNRL apparently because they were told that they could not get selected if they went with the USARL, with that promise broken there is anger there so it looks like an exodus is almost a certainty. The facts about the players that were selected ?, I have seen three different versions already. With the name USA on record of winning it’s first two games will have a run on effect. I know there are arguments and many problems to sort out but no true fan of the game would miss watching this world cup no matter what the politics. this world cup will bring much out in the open because most Australians previously knew nothing about whats been going on. the secret to getting the international scene and ruling body sorted out is to forcibly take the power from the NRL powerbrokers who are interested in becoming very rich. the only thing rugby union did that I think we should copy is what Rugby union did by putting businessman David Hill in charge of a total revamp of that code and it payed dividends, funnily enough, he made Union professional, which basically means the argument that began rugby league has finally been won by League as Union finally admitted defeat in that the argument, Amateur versus professional has been settled beyond dispute. Professionals ONE Amateurs ZERO.

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