By STEVE MASCORD
THE corporate world is, indeed, a parallel universe.
It has a different economy, a different set of values … and a different language. On Friday, the rugby league media received a “release” that was, pointedly, from “Super League and Rugby Football League”.
It boasted a new strip at the top, which incorporated the logos of both organisations.
A bit of background: late last year the 12 Super League clubs kicked the then-RFL CEO, Nigel Wood, off their board and replaced him with themselves.
The Batley owner, Kevin Nicholas, said last week he had seen correspondence from his Wigan counterpart, Ian Lenegan, indicating Super League clubs want greater control of the sport’s TV money.
Revolution was in the air. So this was a much anticipated press release.
But what did it actually say?
“The newly constituted board of Super League, comprising representatives from each of its member clubs, have embarked on cooperative and constructive initial discussions with the Rugby Football League with a view to improving the quality of its own competition, its financial strength, its valuation and its profile.
“This management and commercial review is to be undertaken within the overall context of growing and strengthening the game of Rugby League in its entirety, particularly at community and grassroots level.”
It’s tempting to call this “code”. But code is intended to be, eventually, decoded. I’m not yet sure whether this was written with the intention of anyone understanding it.
But the first sentence indicates strongly that the Super League clubs are on the move. They “embarked” on the talks, not Red Hall. They want to be stronger, more successful.
The second sentence attempts to alleviate fears of a breakaway, or a drawbridge-lifting. They want the whole game to be successful. But Super League clubs are clearly driving something.
Here’s an idea! Let’s do the whole media release in plain English!
“Super League clubs have approached the RFL seeking to improve Super League. That doesn’t mean they don’t want rugby league as a whole to improve – they do.
Super League’s going great. With the looser salary cap restrictions in 2018, it should be even better and that’s necessary with globalisation and all that going on.
Super League and RFL both want all this to happen.
Here’s another paragraph saying what we already said.
Brian Barwick, chairman of Super League and the RFL, says: ‘Yeah, we’re having a review of everything. Super League’s really important. There’s lots of cool stuff for the RFL and Super League to take advantage of in the years ahead.'”
So, here’s what it means: Super League clubs are applying the blowtorch and the game is having a review in response. They could have just said “we’re reviewing everything”.
End of media release.