Last week I was privileged, along with Jon Flatman ( York) and Andy Mazey ( Rochdale), to represent the Championship and League 1 hence the semi professional part of our Rugby League Pyramid in a meeting with Ken Davy along with Paul King (Salford) and Paul Lakin (Hull KR) representing SL and overseen by Ralph Rimmer the CEO of the RFL.
In a separate project those representatives from SL are also part of discussions with the RFL to unite the two and therefore bring the game back together which has already been publicly stated by Ken Davy.
It is fair to say since SL split away from the RFL in 2018 there has been little dialogue between the different sections of the professional game and so first of all this meeting taking place at all is a healthy step in the right direction. In the meantime of course there has been the highly challenging pandemic the effects of which are still ongoing and a reduced TV contract for the televising of Rugby League games the great majority of which are SL matches.
To say the least then a lot has happened and none of it has helped our sport prosper to put it mildly. Going forward we all recognised there are significant challenges ahead. My clear impression from the meeting was certainly that we recognise the severe difficulties, stresses and challenges particularly financial the SL are facing and I believe the end product of the meeting was that equally the SL representatives recognised the very similar pressures albeit on a smaller scale that the semi professional game is facing more so in 2021.
The end result of the meeting in my view was very positive on all sides as we all want the sport to prosper and we all recognise perhaps that in the difficult times ahead it is in everyone’s interests to work together for the benefit of the whole sport. No decisions were made as this was simply a first step in the right direction of travel and probably the next step is for hopefully SL and RFL to join back together as that is the start we all want. From our perspective we want that to happen as soon as possible so that the step of resolving financial matters can take place to enable everyone to plan going forward.
In conclusion in my view this was an extremely positive meeting to build on for the future and without doubt positivity is something we need to emphasise going forward as without that the task ahead will be all the more difficult.
Again in my view, the whole game must come together as one for the benefit of all the parts and this meeting I found encouraging in this respect.