Rugby League's Obsession With The Dying Sport Image


With the news that 2 more clubs were on the brink of the financial abyss by Saturday afternoon, it got me thinking about why Rugby League has this obsession with having the "dying sport image". It's not just here in the UK either, in Australia the same rumblings have been going on over there too, especially in relation to the decline of "Bush Footy Clubs" teams that play in remote parts of Australia.

Rugby League fans seem to enjoy the idea of a game that's on it's way, unable to compete with it's stronger and more favoured brother, Rugby Union, leading to statements such as "the game is in the worst position it's ever been" and "in 50 years the sport won't exist" which are quite frankly outlandish and hold 0 to no merit whatsoever. While Super League and the NRL are the front runners of Rugby League they are not the sole participants of the sport.
The Balkan Super League is a prime example of Rugby League thriving, teams from; Albania, Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, Greece and Bosnia all competing for the rights to be called the best team in the Balkans. The expansion of the league has seen many teams building stronger squads in an effort to qualify for what many are touting as the Europa League of Rugby League.

All in all the RLIF currently holds 18 full members ranging from Australia, New Zealand, England to Wales, Ukraine, Russia and Cook Islands, 7 affiliate members; Spain, Canada, the USA and a record 22 nations recognised as Observers; Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Guyana, Chile, Niue, Hong Kong, Vanuatu, Soloman Islands, Phillipines, India, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, Norfolk Islands, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Malta, Holland, Sweden, Goergia, Turkey, Ethiopia, Morroco, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Palestine and Nigeria. That's a lot of members in-comparison to the 25 members the RLIF had less than 15 years ago, that's growth not decay.

The Women's game is undoubtabley one of the most rapidly advancing and exicetable prospects of our game, Women are playing Rugby League in record numbers in the UK, the Tarsha Gale League in Australia has become one of the games spectacles and there is so much more work going on behind the scenes around the world.

It's unfortunate that the structure isn't in place to stop smaller clubs from folding and there should be more funding provided for clubs that are not as financially stable but because a few clubs are struggling to pay bills that doesn't mean that the game is dying, as one team goes another one joins and that's the reality of both sports and business.


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