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Rackety perfomance of the Sweet Chariot along the road (or how the RFU and PRL don't think things through)

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Post by Portnoy Sat 18 Aug - 11:31

In principle, England has a perfectly workable pyramid structure which enables and encourages not only players but clubs to succeed and even bask in the sunshine at the summit.
I strongly believe that that is laudable.

But the problem is that the machine is lumpy and clunky and performs more like a battered Austin Maxi than an efficient VW Scirrocco.

Many of these inefficiencies are due to quick fixes along the journey. Fixes which somehow keep the motor going, but by bodging rather than fixing.
End of motor analogy.

The first bodge was when PRL/RFU granted P-shares to the then incumbent Premier clubs above the A-shares of what is now Championship clubs. Now I'm no expert on these, but one effect is that parachute payments are different and are thought of a bit of a 'golden ticket' and (I think) allow voting on Premiership affairs from beyond the grave of relegation. Currently I believe that Bristol and Newcastle are the proud owners of P-shares in the Championship and it is as yet by no means clear as yet that Wasps won't join them in a season or two as there is apparently some sort of log-jam in the restructuring in their financial affairs - a log-jam which apparently affecting their domestic recruitment. P-shares are transferable and Bristolians are concerned the wooing of Exeter for buying out their precious commodity. All due to lack of forethought at the outset by RFU/PRL pragmatic short term thinking rather than saying for example giving P-shares a ten-year life-span after which they revert to A-shares.

Secondly - Promotion/relegation. Now that the dust has settled on the LW promotion issue, one issue alone has been agreed. That the Championship league winners get promoted. But only on the basis of a threat of costly (presumably undefendable) legal action. but that is one part of a complex web of off-the-cuff issues some of which should have been thought through properly than rushing to pragmatic decisions. But thanks to London Welsh, the grim reality has been exposed.
In a laudable but (again) ill-thought-through attempt to create an all-professional Championship, the consideration of all possibilities in introducing a ludicrous playoff system which failed so spectacularly last season could and should have been predicted by in essence signing a pre-nup by clubs to claim promotion to agree in advance to all other promotion criteria - e.g. Ground arrangement arranged formally in principle via a signed conditional contract over tenancy.
Well that and excepting incumbent Premiership clubs from their own conditions of entry.

Thirdly Club v Country issues (or rather England v PRL sides). Another landmine yet to be exploded. Teams have, no doubt, been excluded in the past been excluded from (say) Heineken Cup qualification. What's to prevent English clubs to sign English/EQ players conditional on them revoking any call to England duty? At least one precedent exists (Samu Manoa / Saints / USA)

Four - International windows. As it stands, All clubs have to play (most often depleted) through IWs due to the 12-team Jeff structure. This of course benefits sides who chose to recruit extensively from the SH. That is a perfectly rational thing to do so long as their players are not subject to 4Ns call-up (witness Tigers' reluctant decision to release Agulla). It makes perfect sense, but it doesn't benefit English side (which is the bed-rock of the English public's rugby interest) - rather the reverse.
RWC years are even worse due to the PRL. Last season were they interested in packing the front end of the season with LV= cup and the like so far as possible? They put it to the vote and the result was a pragmatic 'No' thus ensuring that those teams supplying most International players to their respective countries (let alone England) were hindered the most.

Fifth - Wage caps are necessary to (rightly) prevent the leaders running away from the pack. It's a fine concept but is it thought through properly? Do they adequately compensate clubs that provide steady supplies of English players and excellent academies? Just recently there's been a almighty fudge in excepting 'marqee' players from the cap - but those players don't have to be English so once again it reinforces the temptation to bank-roll SH players.
Also do salary caps not induce in some way a 'flight to the top' mentality without regard to long-term sustainability? Eight out of the 12 Jeff clubs ran at a loss last year. And that was an very good year.

Finally - Academies are obviously the nursery-beds of talent, but are they best managed?
Tigers (it has been suggested) have virtually r*** and pillaged Newcasle and Leeds and I have some sympathy with that view. But it's not just Leicester - there will be inevitably be 'buying and selling' clubs in any league which contains independently-finaced sides. My concern is that there is a lack of adequate defence of nests when crows are hovering to pluck out the fledglings. Academies don't come cheap and I'd suggest that any graduate from an academy should be automatically contracted to his club for a mandatory five years. And if the player wants to/is tempted to leave then an adequate fixed sum of say (making up figures on the hoof) £100000 plus a further (£10k less £20k per year served of the initial 5-year contract) payable to the club. This in other walks of life is called an indenture. Once released by either the new club or the player himself, personal terms will be additional charges.
Also the RFU should run a national academy like that in Wales where the brightest talents can be monitored and assisted in their developments on a part-time basis in parallel with their clubs.

All that and no grumble about playoffs,
Oops! I did it again. Whistle

Fifthly -
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Sat 18 Aug - 13:24

Good summary, Portnoy, that deserves more thought than I'm willing to give it while basking in the sunshine and relaxation of the Outer Hebrides - however, I promise to come back with a full response (for what it will be worth!) : OK:

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Post by maestegmafia Sat 18 Aug - 14:58

Great read very informative. You seem to have highlighted some key issues...!!!

The RFU and the FFR are both falling behind the rest of Rugby's major Unions in their relationship between club and country in the professional era. It will be interesting to see how this butting of heads, (intrests) unveils in the future.

Despite the conundrums and further difficulties the majority of English supporting rugby fans on this forum seem very content with what they have and don't necesarily want any change.

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Post by Portnoy Sat 18 Aug - 16:57

maestegmafia wrote:Great read very informative. You seem to have highlighted some key issues...!!!

The RFU and the FFR are both falling behind the rest of Rugby's major Unions in their relationship between club and country in the professional era. It will be interesting to see how this butting of heads, (intrests) unveils in the future.

Despite the conundrums and further difficulties the majority of English supporting rugby fans on this forum seem very content with what they have and don't necesarily want any change.

Often I'm accused of being one-eyed in favour of either England or the Tigers, maesteg. But sometimes I feel that that I'm in with a group of the blind.

But don't get me wrong. Just because this article is addressing some of the many heffalump traps that exist in English rugby, it's not to say that I haven't spotted any in other Unions. But that imo, is a topic best raised by their respective fans. But to give you an idea, I used to be in principle, in favour of English central contracts until recently. But after picking their brains about it, Irish fans helped me, through their comments, form an entirely opposite view.
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Post by maestegmafia Sat 18 Aug - 19:01

Portnoy,

There are good points and bad in all setups in all sports.

Central contracts is a point proposed often by both the WRU and Regions. What are your current reservations?

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Post by Portnoy Sat 18 Aug - 19:07

Read this maes : https://www.606v2.com/t32911-irfu-central-contracts

There was enough in there to dissuade me.
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Sat 18 Aug - 19:23

Portnoy wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:Great read very informative. You seem to have highlighted some key issues...!!!

The RFU and the FFR are both falling behind the rest of Rugby's major Unions in their relationship between club and country in the professional era. It will be interesting to see how this butting of heads, (intrests) unveils in the future.

Despite the conundrums and further difficulties the majority of English supporting rugby fans on this forum seem very content with what they have and don't necesarily want any change.

Often I'm accused of being one-eyed in favour of either England or the Tigers, maesteg. But sometimes I feel that that I'm in with a group of the blind.

But don't get me wrong. Just because this article is addressing some of the many heffalump traps that exist in English rugby, it's not to say that I haven't spotted any in other Unions. But that imo, is a topic best raised by their respective fans. But to give you an idea, I used to be in principle, in favour of English central contracts until recently. But after picking their brains about it, Irish fans helped me, through their comments, form an entirely opposite view.
On the contrary, Portnoy, this thread merely highlights the quality of post that you are capable of imo, rather than some of your blatantly pro-Tiggers efforts! OK

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Post by maestegmafia Sat 18 Aug - 19:41

Portnoy wrote:Read this maes : https://www.606v2.com/t32911-irfu-central-contracts

There was enough in there to dissuade me.

Thats a lot of reading mate. but some interesting points.

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Post by Portnoy Sat 18 Aug - 19:56

maestegmafia wrote:
Portnoy wrote:Read this maes : https://www.606v2.com/t32911-irfu-central-contracts

There was enough in there to dissuade me.

Thats a lot of reading mate. but some interesting points.

It boiled down to the fact that it caued a lot of in-fighting and charges and counter charges that the centrally contracted players were/were not selected on a sound basis, being played preferentially despite form and other stuff of the ilk.
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Post by maestegmafia Sat 18 Aug - 19:59

I think that is tantamount argument against central contracting. I know that the WRU are looking at the option of it but hopefully are learning the rights and wrongs experienced elsewhere.

Anyhow we should let your thread get back to its bare bones on the RFU, PRL so on so forth...!!! I guess you should add the pro's and con's and limitations of the elite squad etc as well...?


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Post by beshocked Mon 20 Aug - 11:19

Portnoy

1. Agree - that's a mess. Why not just give equal voting rights to those currently in the AP?

2. Any side that wins the Championship should go up. I would personally scrap the playoff system and just have whoever wins the league go up.

3.Not a problem in my opinion. Players retiring from England allows youngsters to be given a chance. You think the likes of Stevens and Hodgson should linger in the England squad with young bright prospects coming along? They still have a lot to offer at club level -they could help mentor youngsters.

4.You exaggerate the effect because your team was hit. 3 of the teams most affected by the RWC and 6 nations were still in the top 4. It helps the top teams with their strength in depth and actually makes them stronger. Injuries and absentees give opportunities.

5.Wage caps are needed for a levelling playing field. Compensation for internationals would lead to a virtuous circle for the top 4. Unsurprisingly you want this because of your team bias. The current top 4 don't need more advantages.

6.I have a problem with you saying that academy products should automatically contracted to their club for 5 years. Where's the freedom of choice for the individual? Arguably compensation could come into the equation though.

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Post by Portnoy Mon 20 Aug - 11:49

Beshocked in disagreement with Portnoy. Shock horror exclusive.

Actually I thought that I was a pretty balanced in my article. And I did not shrink from criticising my own club.

I was just attempting to select a few factors in which the RFU/PRL have demonstrated muddled thinking.

4.You exaggerate the effect because your team was hit. 3 of the teams most affected by the RWC and 6 nations were still in the top 4. It helps the top teams with their strength in depth and actually makes them stronger. Injuries and absentees give opportunities.
Didn't Refer to the the top four. Plus you fall into the short-term trap of taking last year's results in isolation and apparently drawing a conclusion which was not inferred.
If you read point four again, you may conclude that I wrote one thing and you inferred another.

ed. ps I see that the phantom hacker (presumably in the mod team) is at work again.


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Post by beshocked Mon 20 Aug - 12:01

Portnoy I agree you are being more balanced than usual.

I also agree that the RFU/PRL is far from perfect.

No you didn't refer to the top four. My point is that the IWs hasn't shaken up the status quo that much. The best sides will still be near the top even if you feel they are unfairly treated.

What trap?


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Post by Portnoy Mon 20 Aug - 12:08

Well of using last year's top four argument as a single defence for a long-term, persistent threat to HEC qualification of clubs having to supply players to the international fold.

You also appeared to cherry-pick from my observations.
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Post by yappysnap Mon 20 Aug - 18:54

Could the international experience gained by those players last season and the enforced building of squad depth for the teams that were hit not help those clubs this season though?

Rome wasn't built in a day and all that.

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Post by Portnoy Mon 20 Aug - 20:55

yappysnap wrote:Could the international experience gained by those players last season and the enforced building of squad depth for the teams that were hit not help those clubs this season though?

Rome wasn't built in a day and all that.

But international windows could be better organised - no?

Especially in RWC years.

Plus there is an implicit assumption that 12 is the optimal number of sides. Some clubs might prefer 14 whilst other would favour ten.
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Post by Feckless Rogue Mon 20 Aug - 21:04

Portnoy I'd like the three European leagues to be shortened and played in one block, followed by the erc tournaments played in one block, followed by the 6 Nations at the end of the season. No overlapping tournaments.
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Post by Portnoy Tue 21 Aug - 15:32

Feckless emainingRogue wrote:Portnoy I'd like the three European leagues to be shortened and played in one block, followed by the erc tournaments played in one block, followed by the 6 Nations at the end of the season. No overlapping tournaments.

Feclkess

The calendar year consists of 52 weeks.

The Off-season (disregarding Summer international) is 12 weeks to accommodate player r&r and pre-season training.

That leaves 40 weeks.

A 12-team league season needs 22 weeks.

18 weeks

European currently requires (max) 9 weeks

So that leaves 9 weeks to fit in AIs, playoffs and sundry end-of-season tin-pot cups.

So far as I can see the mechanisms to fully separate team/international requirements would be found in some combination from the following:

• Reduce the close season
• Reduce league size
• Reduce International games
• Reduce Play-off / tin-pot cups
• Play on average more than once every seven days.

Personally, whist agreeing with you about separating league and country fixtures, I'd prefer reduction of league sides whist playing more meaningful cup fixtures in the IWs and (dare I say) drop the playoffs and in England's case, reintroduce a Jeff/Championship Cup final(e) to the season.
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Tue 21 Aug - 16:24

Portnoy, your big problem is who is going to vote for your 5 proposed changes - or to put it another way, will it be the clubs or the RFU tht exercises veto against each of your proposed changes?

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Post by Portnoy Tue 21 Aug - 16:32

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:Portnoy, your big problem is who is going to vote for your 5 proposed changes - or to put it another way, will it be the clubs or the RFU tht exercises veto against each of your proposed changes?

They are not proposals As.

They are meant to be observations which I feel are candidates for decisions which the RFU/PRL made in haste only to potentially regret at leisure.
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Post by red_stag Tue 21 Aug - 16:34

Would you seriously get rid of the playoffs Portnoy?
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Post by doctor_grey Tue 21 Aug - 16:36

The problem, as ever, is about money:
Clubs won't vote to reduce the number of teams in the Premiership because the fixtures generate money.
They won't vote to eliminate the playoffs because they help grow Rugby by garnering more media attention, large attendance at the Twickenham final, and they make money.
The RFU won't want to eliminate even one International because........they make money.
And the players are gutted playing more than once per week, which raises injury potential, which damages the club's performance, which may lead to missing the Heineken Cup qualification and/or the Premiership playoffs, which make money.

To look at things differently, the real question is how to raise the profitability of the Clubs, whilst not increasing the number of games. Though probably a pipe dream, the possibility to take a match out here or there would hinge entirely on the profiitability of the Clubs.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Tue 21 Aug - 17:00

There are no agreed priorities or tiered structure in Europe though. The French clubs see their league as more important and prestigious than the HC. When the France v Ireland match was postponed the French clubs were actually calling for the 6 Nations match to be played months later so it wouldn't interfere with the Top 14 schedule. The club owners see their own league as more important than the 6 Nations! There has to be Europe wide agreement on a tiered structure with test rugby as the top priority, then erc tournaments, then domestic leagues.

There are 22 games played in a league season plus 2 playoff matches if you make it that far. That's 24. Possibly 27 in France. There are 6 HC matches plus 3 knockout rounds if you make it that far. That's 9 games. League plus HC is 33 games. 36 for France. How many games need to be removed from this domestic schedule to allow a more structured southern hemisphere style setup, where we play domestic league, then cross border comp, then international comp. You could cut the leagues in half by playing everyone only once like in the old Super 14.

This would reduce revenue. But since every European club in the 3 leagues would simultaneously have a drop in revenue, nobody would be at a disadvantage. There could be a deflation in wages across the three leagues. But that might just bring them more in line with southern hemisphere wages and reduce the signing of southern journeymen? I think a more structured season designed to benefit test rugby to the maximum would see European sides do much better against the southern big three.

Am I talking nonsense?
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Post by Portnoy Tue 21 Aug - 17:04

red_stag wrote:Would you seriously get rid of the playoffs Portnoy?

Personally yes. But in the current environment the demand appears to be for some sort for a grand finale at Twickers. My preference would be to name the League champions over the season to exactly that and to reintroduce a re-vamped English Cup the core of which would be played during the IWs.
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Post by Portnoy Tue 21 Aug - 17:12

Feckless Rogue wrote:There are no agreed priorities or tiered structure in Europe though. The French clubs see their league as more important and prestigious than the HC. When the France v Ireland match was postponed the French clubs were actually calling for the 6 Nations match to be played months later so it wouldn't interfere with the Top 14 schedule. The club owners see their own league as more important than the 6 Nations! There has to be Europe wide agreement on a tiered structure with test rugby as the top priority, then erc tournaments, then domestic leagues.

There are 22 games played in a league season plus 2 playoff matches if you make it that far. That's 24. Possibly 27 in France. There are 6 HC matches plus 3 knockout rounds if you make it that far. That's 9 games. League plus HC is 33 games. 36 for France. How many games need to be removed from this domestic schedule to allow a more structured southern hemisphere style setup, where we play domestic league, then cross border comp, then international comp. You could cut the leagues in half by playing everyone only once like in the old Super 14.

This would reduce revenue. But since every European club in the 3 leagues would simultaneously have a drop in revenue, nobody would be at a disadvantage. There could be a deflation in wages across the three leagues. But that might just bring them more in line with southern hemisphere wages and reduce the signing of southern journeymen? I think a more structured season designed to benefit test rugby to the maximum would see European sides do much better against the southern big three.

Am I talking nonsense?

Only if you extend your argument to include those countries beyond the remit of my OP. This is intended to be relating to English RFU/PRL issues regarding lack of thorough thinking domestically. Feel free to start a Rabo/Irish one if you like, but the essence of this debate shouldn't really affect international competition as it stands.
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Post by pjm1 Tue 21 Aug - 21:53

Re: the congested fixture list, there isn't an ideal solution. Clubs need all the revenue they can get so reducing their fixture list wouldn't work. Conversely, there are too many games for the top players so they need to play fewer games.

The only intersection of these two is to take some of the top players out for some of the games. This is obviously bad for fans as they aren't watching the same quality teams... One option is to do this in a staged way so teams are affected as evenly as possible. But this isn't really feasible as the top players are usually concentrated in the bigger clubs.

I wouldn't object to seeing the AP season being recut so that during the 6 weeks of 6N action the top 6 from last season all play each of the bottom 6 conference style. By avoiding making the best play the nearly best during this period you probably aren't affecting results as much especially if some top clubs have a higher concentration of internationals than others. Similarly at the bottom end - should be less likely to affect the relegation battle.

It's not a perfect solution by any means - will last seasons top 6 be reflective of this season's form? What about the four or so clubs in the middle of the table last season - a couple will have a much tougher time of this period than the other two.

Still, I think it's an improvement to the current. It should also make some of these top vs bottom clashes mor exciting as the top clubs have a likely handicap of losing some of their stars...

Thoughts?

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Post by nganboy Wed 22 Aug - 1:33

I can't comment on your comp(s) as I don't understand it/them enough but just to add food for thought...
The ITM cup in NZ (semi professional) generally has a team playing once a week but twice during the 8 week competition each team has 2 games so very short turn around.
Most of this is happening while the 4 Nations is on so the ABs are not available most of the time (expect non playing squad members to get occasional runs) but the rest of the Super players are.
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Post by Portnoy Wed 22 Aug - 14:38

That is along the lines that I was thinking Ngan.

To compress a seven-day week into a six-day one is not outrageously difficult.

Let's say that the odd Thursday/Monday evening match were thrown into the mix. And there's Bank Holiday weeks too, it'd be reasonable to manufacture a scenario in which no club is expected to play with a minimum of a five-day turnaround, generate BH (record?) crowds and foreshorten the classic structured RFU season.
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Post by Portnoy Thu 23 Aug - 18:04

On one point at least, this sort of supports my observations: http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,25883,3551_8008025,00.html . And with a photo of Squeaky - couldn't be better!
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Wed 12 Sep - 13:50

Portnoy, Promised that i would get back to you on your points when I'd had time to think it thru, so here goes:

Portnoy wrote:The first bodge was when PRL/RFU granted P-shares to the then incumbent Premier clubs above the A-shares of what is now Championship clubs. Now I'm no expert on these, but one effect is that parachute payments are different and are thought of a bit of a 'golden ticket' and (I think) allow voting on Premiership affairs from beyond the grave of relegation. Currently I believe that Bristol and Newcastle are the proud owners of P-shares in the Championship and it is as yet by no means clear as yet that Wasps won't join them in a season or two as there is apparently some sort of log-jam in the restructuring in their financial affairs - a log-jam which apparently affecting their domestic recruitment. P-shares are transferable and Bristolians are concerned the wooing of Exeter for buying out their precious commodity. All due to lack of forethought at the outset by RFU/PRL pragmatic short term thinking rather than saying for example giving P-shares a ten-year life-span after which they revert to A-shares.

I guess the intention of P shares was as a means of distributing the financial pie, and there's nothing wrong with that - the clubs then in the top flight however did a fairly poor job of working how they might be handed on should any of them be relegated. Hence, in their third season of prem rugby, Exe do not own any 'P' shares and are roughly just <£1 million income to the short each season compared to most other clubs in the prem (Oxford Welsh and Wuss could be in the same situation). I believe that Leeds, Brizzle and Newcastle still hold on to their 'P' shares altho they may well not earn any income from them, but there is a "value" attached to them, which understandably they want to realise. I don't think there's anything wrong with demoted teams keeping their 'P' shares for one year post-relegation, but should they fail to bounce back I think there must be a forced sale to the newcomer at the top table, at a rate that is acceptable to both parties or else determined by some external arbiter (ie RFU or PRL).

Portnoy wrote:Secondly - Promotion/relegation. Now that the dust has settled on the LW promotion issue, one issue alone has been agreed. That the Championship league winners get promoted. But only on the basis of a threat of costly (presumably undefendable) legal action. but that is one part of a complex web of off-the-cuff issues some of which should have been thought through properly than rushing to pragmatic decisions. But thanks to London Welsh, the grim reality has been exposed.
In a laudable but (again) ill-thought-through attempt to create an all-professional Championship, the consideration of all possibilities in introducing a ludicrous playoff system which failed so spectacularly last season could and should have been predicted by in essence signing a pre-nup by clubs to claim promotion to agree in advance to all other promotion criteria - e.g. Ground arrangement arranged formally in principle via a signed conditional contract over tenancy.
Well that and excepting incumbent Premiership clubs from their own conditions of entry.

Agree that championship clubs should be forced to accept to a set of MSC, but they must equally be applied to existing prem teams - exceptions can be permitted for a year or two allowing time for prem teams that do not meet the criteria to get their house in order, and equally for promoted championship teams to generate the income they would need to sort things out. A limit of two years would work, in my mind. All this must be backed up by sustainable business plans, that any aspirant must be prepared to submit for examination and approval.

Portnoy wrote:Thirdly Club v Country issues (or rather England v PRL sides). Another landmine yet to be exploded. Teams have, no doubt, been excluded in the past been excluded from (say) Heineken Cup qualification. What's to prevent English clubs to sign English/EQ players conditional on them revoking any call to England duty? At least one precedent exists (Samu Manoa / Saints / USA)
Not sure what point you are making here - I thought Manoa simply declined the invitation to represent the USA (and/or Tonga for that matter) in the RWC - I didn't realise that it was an irrevocable undertaking. I don't think that clubs should be permitted to stop players from representing their country in IRB sanctioned windows.

Portnoy wrote:Four - International windows. As it stands, All clubs have to play (most often depleted) through IWs due to the 12-team Jeff structure. This of course benefits sides who chose to recruit extensively from the SH. That is a perfectly rational thing to do so long as their players are not subject to 4Ns call-up (witness Tigers' reluctant decision to release Agulla). It makes perfect sense, but it doesn't benefit English side (which is the bed-rock of the English public's rugby interest) - rather the reverse.
RWC years are even worse due to the PRL. Last season were they interested in packing the front end of the season with LV= cup and the like so far as possible? They put it to the vote and the result was a pragmatic 'No' thus ensuring that those teams supplying most International players to their respective countries (let alone England) were hindered the most.

I have some sympathy for your fourth point and think the current balance is tilted too heavily against clubs that provide players to the national (ie England) team. Perhaps the equal distribution of income to all teams could be amended. I am very keen however that player welfare remains top and foremost, so would be reluctant to extend the season as it currently stands - any changes to league and other competition dates would have to operate within the existing (or less) timeframe. It's tough to rearrange pan-European or even Anglo-Welsh competition structures given the diverse interests of the various parties.

Portnoy wrote:Fifth - Wage caps are necessary to (rightly) prevent the leaders running away from the pack. It's a fine concept but is it thought through properly? Do they adequately compensate clubs that provide steady supplies of English players and excellent academies? Just recently there's been a almighty fudge in excepting 'marqee' players from the cap - but those players don't have to be English so once again it reinforces the temptation to bank-roll SH players.
Also do salary caps not induce in some way a 'flight to the top' mentality without regard to long-term sustainability? Eight out of the 12 Jeff clubs ran at a loss last year. And that was an very good year.

Wage caps exist for a couple of reasons in my mind: (i) to ensure that sugar daddies can't spend without consequence and then disappear, (ii) to ensure the level of competition between clubs remains high. For these reasons I am in favour of salary caps, altho there exists a question of what they should be referenced to (ie a fixed amount that is the same for all, or a dynamic amount that is partly related to some feature that is unique to each club - eg turnover). Agree that the whole 'marquee' player nonsense is a fudge, and I'd prefer to see some stronger link (than that which already exists) to development and retention of players thru academies.

Portnoy wrote:Finally - Academies are obviously the nursery-beds of talent, but are they best managed?
Tigers (it has been suggested) have virtually r*** and pillaged Newcasle and Leeds and I have some sympathy with that view. But it's not just Leicester - there will be inevitably be 'buying and selling' clubs in any league which contains independently-finaced sides. My concern is that there is a lack of adequate defence of nests when crows are hovering to pluck out the fledglings. Academies don't come cheap and I'd suggest that any graduate from an academy should be automatically contracted to his club for a mandatory five years. And if the player wants to/is tempted to leave then an adequate fixed sum of say (making up figures on the hoof) £100000 plus a further (£10k less £20k per year served of the initial 5-year contract) payable to the club. This in other walks of life is called an indenture. Once released by either the new club or the player himself, personal terms will be additional charges.
Also the RFU should run a national academy like that in Wales where the brightest talents can be monitored and assisted in their developments on a part-time basis in parallel with their clubs.

Agree with your overall point, just not with your suggested method of implementation - would prefer to see salary cap alterations as per my comment above.

OK

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Post by Portnoy Sun 16 Sep - 13:04

The more one hears, the less inclined I am to believe that PRL has any concept of foreward planning. Clearly the clubs have an agenda which prioritises mutual interest over everything. And old farts still fiddle at TW2 7BA whilst English rugby burns.

Still Squeaky's thick teflon coating is thus far unimpaired by the re-entry scorching as he crashes into the toxic atmosphere Dublin ERC talks.

A pox on 'em all I say.
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Post by maestegmafia Sun 16 Sep - 13:28

It will certainly be interesting to view the effect the PRL has imposed on it after the ERC meeting.

From an outsiders point of view it appears that the RFU are often undermined by the PRL. That the RFU are too affraid of the clubs owners might consider doing to offer the direction needed by the national Union representing the game.

The PRL and RFU often appear to rivals, the snappy young city boy PRL vs the stoic institutionalised RFU.

It seems volatile and disruptive to progress.

What happens next week will hopefully have a huge effect on Ian Richie's and Mark McCafferty's visions for the game in England and the future relationship of the RFU and PRL.

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Post by Portnoy Sun 16 Sep - 13:42

You'd have to compare the shambolic English administrative performance against its firm, visionary Welsh counterparts though maes. When greenhouses are involved, it's probably best not to chuck too many stones
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Post by maestegmafia Sun 16 Sep - 13:54

Portnoy wrote:You'd have to compare the shambolic English administrative performance against its firm, visionary Welsh counterparts though maes. When greenhouses are involved, it's probably best not to chuck too many stones

I thought you said this discussion was on English rugby?

If you would like to discuss the relationship with the WRU and RRW ltd then I am happy to do so.

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