Following on from RFL Chairman Simon Johnson reported to describe the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) as “selfish, parochial and cowardly” he has now written to them via twitter(!).
"Dear @NRL clubs. Please listen with an open mind to #RLWC2021 Please listen to your players Please consider seriously the unprecedented safety & transport regime put in place for the tournament And Please do not stand in the way of the greatest #RLWC there has ever been"
That will sort it fella, if ever there was a time to up the ante and take your background in event management to another level then it was plain for all to see.
What does he think this will achieve and where is his media management "team" helping him formulate a strong message?
The message would be strong if the RFL/WC2021 had been as professional as the NRL they are trying to court.
I mean, what could possibly show how well you are looking after the players and team staff than a Super League competition that has no postponements and didn't have to rely on a WPP system to decide the playoff places. But no there have been many cancellations, Hull KR went 5 matches without playing for one covid reason of another.
He responded to a supporters point about this with : "The bio security regime for the tournament is bespoke, specially designed and entirely different to the regular season arrangements." — Simon Johnson (@sjrbsimon) July 28, 2021 as if the Super League wasn't being "covid secure ENOUGH?"
The NRL however, have kept their ball rolling and even a player walking out onto a balcony at their hotel results in a fine and a 1 match ban.
The NRL IS showing the way, the Aussie Government IS showing the way, the UK government's decision to open up was the nail in the coffin of the RLWC, they either stump up vast sums to make the World Cup happen or we cancel it, we should have been at this GO/NOGO decision ourselves 8 weeks ago, not have to wait for our guests to say "hey, we don't really think you guys are up to it so, it is a NO from us".
If we had made the decision 8 weeks ago, we could probably have saved millions, we could have used the last 3 months of all the staff contracts to plan the new tournament next year, in the lead up to the Soccer World cup, when England flags will be on show all over the country. Instead, the WC2021 committee is still selling tickets for a tournament that is surely dead.
Putting on a World Cup is tough and putting one on in a global pandemic is even tougher, but the making of those who are in charge is borne from their ability to make very important decisions, even if that decision is to cancel the whole thing. The Rugby League world needs to go ahead, just not now, not like this.
The reality of Rugby League getting caught up once again in the headlights when they need to be decisive is a common problem, and at some point we will break free from this like the NRL did many years ago.
The thoughts of Paul Cunliffe.