P1020693

Jailbreak: The Story Of Sol Mokdad

By STEVE MASCORD BEING jailed in Dubai is Hell. “I couldn’t dp my NRL fantasy comp for two weeks,” says Sol Mokdad, weaving through the ancient narrow lanes of Exeter in south-west England. “Lost both weeks. Shocking.” The smiley 30-year-old beside me bears little resemblance to the dissident, refusenik, suffragette, martyr (“the word ‘martyr is too huge because I am still alive,” he insists) that you may have envisaged when you first learned that a rugby league official had been jailed in the United Arab Emirates at the behest of the local rugby union. Mokdad, raised in Saudi Arabia by Lebanese parents and a former resident of both New Zealand and Australia, was involved in rugby league administration before he was out of his teens. He seems to know more about governance, corporate structure and commercial law than most men twice his age and he’s “exiled in Exeter’ following his headline-grabbing incarceration, living with some old flatmates and looking for a new start. Following his departure, the once-promising rugby league movement in the UAE is at death’s door. UAE Rugby are trying to take it over, and the Rugby League International Federation seems willing to work with them. Rugby union have done some dastardly things to rugby league over the past 120 years – the French injustice of the Second World War will hopefully never be outdone – but having a league official thrown in jail holds a unique place in the troubled history of the two codes. As we sit in grounds of the 600-year-old Exeter Cathedral, among picnickers on a sunny day which locals insist are relatively rare even in summer, I ask Sol to recall the afternoon he was arrested. “I was invited to go to the Sports Industry Forum at the Sofitel hotel in Dubai – by the organiser,” he replies. “Then a friend of mine texted me saying ‘get out of there, they’re coming to arrest you.’ “As soon as I got outside, there were two guys who took my phone, put me in a van and took me to the general headquarters of the police station. “When I got there, I waited for an hour. But what I got from it – they (had arrested) me for fraud and embezzlement. They claimed that I said I was president of the rugby union and they said that I took a lot of money, a substantial amount of money from the sponsors. “One of the questions was ‘what did you do with the 800,000 dirhams from Nissan?’ and that’s ridiculous. “We didn’t even take any money off them. Before they paid, this whole thing went down.” At this point it’s probably a good idea to provide some background. Rugby league has been going well in Dubai over the past five years, with plenty of sympathetic press and some high profile sponsors, such as Nissan and Fitness First, coming on board. Two things happened to rile the already annoyed rugby union. One, Mokdad told the local English-language press the UAE could host the the 2021 World Cup. Two, when the article was translated back into Arabic, Mokdad was wrongly described as the union president. During our talk, Mokdad raises the prospect of rugby league changing its name to avoid confusion with union. He says they should be described as different sports, not “codes” – and is adamant the World Cup qualifier between Lebanon and South Africa set down for Dubai on October 30 should not go ahead. But the key issue here is rugby union’s response to rugby league’s belated expansion. In places like the UAE, Italy, Morocco and South Africa, local leaguies are getting a bitter taste of how things were in France under the Vichy government – and the RLIF seems woefully under resourced to protect them. No doubt, Mokdad’s human rights were violated. “UAE Rugby League was formed in 2007, even though we weren’t registered with the government,” said Mokdad. “UAE Rugby Union was registered in 2009 or 2010 by Emirati people. Rugby union had been there for about 40 years. “When I approached the General Authority Of Youth And Sports, they said ‘play the game, get EmiratIs involved, grow the game and then we’ll give you recognition’. “When we started getting big enough, through to the first weekend of our competition in 2015 which was a huge success thanks to everyone involved … there was a press release from UAE Rugby in conjunction to with the GAYS what we weren’t allowed to use the UAE name and if we did use the UAE name, there would be criminal charges against us. “The first thing we did was we rebranded … we changed all our social media and I sent an email to the rugby union because they said they wanted to meet with me. I said I’d love to meet with them. No reply. “That’s when I made a statement about hosting the 2021 World Cup and it hit the fan. They translated it and said I was the president of the rugby union. “I sent an apology to the general secretary of the rugby union … I copied in the European Federation. No reply. I sent another one, just to him. No reply. “I managed to get a meeting with the … [Read More...]

WLF TV!

Danko Jones - Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

Album review: DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue By STEVE MASCORD THIS reviewer first saw Danko Jones opening for Hardcore Superstar in Manchester a decade ago. It was spellbinding, this swaggering braggart sweating all over the first 10 rows as he tore through impossibly catchy tales of road life. It was […]

Slash

SLASH, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, 2012

Live review: SLASH at Thebarton Theatre, August 28 2012 By STEVE MASCORD NEW Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. A Tuesday night in Adelaide. After just three songs, they are neck-and-neck. This reviewer did not set out to compare the Slash show at Thebarton Theatre last night to Guns N’Roses all-bells-and-whistles outing at the Hard Rock Hotel […]

Video: Eleven-year-old drummer nails “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

WHITE LINE FEVER Podcast: Episode 77

LOUDMOUTH: January 2013

@Loudmouthcolumn DRUMMER Brian Tichy and guitarist Rob Caggiano have quit Whitesnake and Anthrax respectively on a seismic news day for hard rock and heavy metal. Tichy, who dislocated a shoulder in a mountain biking accident before New Years, wants to devote more time to his Something Unto Nothing (SUN) project with Sass Jordan – but […]

Janes Addiction - Perry Farrell

JANE’S ADDICTION: Something’s Shocking (1989)

By STEVE MASCORD “Camera’s got them images, Camera’s got them all, Showed me everybody, naked and disfigured, Nothing’s Shocking.” – From “Ted, Just Admit It”, Jane’s Addiction PERRY Farrell may not be a weirdo. He may  not be a freak, a pseud, a genius, a madman or a lunatic. By his own admission, he may […]

Hoad brothers

Kings Of The Sun Hit Back At Axl Rose, Search For New Singer

By STEVE MASCORD AFTER finally responding to Axl Rose 24 years after the Gunners front-man kicked him out of the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Kings Of The Sun drummer Cliff Hoad is looking for a new singer – to replace his brother. The Gold Coast rockers wrote themselves a little piece of Oz Rock history in […]

WLF TV: The Union – Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder interview

Tedesco, James

NRL round two: WESTS TIGERS 42 GOLD COAST 12 at CBUS Super Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD WESTS Tigers coach Michael Potter feared fullback James Tedesco‘s potential-laden season  was over almost before it began. Fans of the joint venture – even those with sunburn at a sweltering CBUS Super Stadium – went pale when the 21-year-old play motionless after a first half collision during the 42-12 pizzling of Gold […]

Dangerous Throw

We’ve Got Issues: Lifting Tackles

By STEVE MASCORD WE’RE only going to mention Alex McKinnon’s name once in this story. His ordeal and brave recovery does not belong in the weekly banter that makes up rugby league’s news cycle. In the opinion of this writer, it’s thrown around too much. He’s best left out of it. But this story is […]

P1020693

Jailbreak: The Story Of Sol Mokdad

By STEVE MASCORD BEING jailed in Dubai is Hell. “I couldn’t dp my NRL fantasy comp for two weeks,” says Sol Mokdad, weaving through the ancient narrow lanes of Exeter in south-west England. “Lost both weeks. Shocking.” The smiley 30-year-old beside me bears little resemblance to the dissident, refusenik, suffragette, martyr (“the word ‘martyr is […]

Hall, Ryan2

The A-List: Ryan Hall (:eeds & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HE can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 45 seconds, once addressed his team-mates on how Pythagorus Theorum affects every day life and plays saxophone, piano, guitar and violin. Leeds’ 105kg Ryan Hall may or may not be the best winger in the world – his team-mates call him ‘WBW’ anyway – but […]

Jarryd Hayne

The A-List: JARRYD HAYNE (Parramatta, NSW, NRL All Stars & Australia)

He’s the current joint Dally M winner and he’s leaving for the NFL. But who is Jarryd Hayne, really?

Rugby_league_world_cup_logo

World Cup final: AUSTRALIA 34 NEW ZEALAND 2 at Old Trafford, Manchester

By STEVE MASCORD AUSTRALIAN players repeatedly claimed before the World Cup final that revenge was not a motivation. “Probably told a little white lie,” captain Cameron Smith admitted after his men reclaimed in ruthless fashion the trophy lost to New Zealand five years ago. Tim Sheens’ men brought their total minutes at the World Cup […]

Dorn, Luke

Australia Needs A Challenge Cup, Says Luke Dorn

By STEVE MASCORD OK, the NRL schedule is already so full that we didn’t even have a room for the All Stars game this season. But according to former Northern Eagles, Manly and Sydney Roosters utility back Luke Dorn, what it really needs is not more games, but more occasions. Standing in the players’ race […]

P1070312

Live Blog: SOUTH SYDNEY v SYDNEY ROOSTERS at ANZ Stadium

Fulltime: SOUTH SYDNEY 28 SYDNEY ROOSTERS 8 SOUTH Sydney overpowered their mortal enemies in a sizzling, incident-packed opening to the 2014 NRL season. Broadcaster Channel Nine reported the NRL launched an investigation while the match was still in progress into a tackle by Sydney Roosters’ Sonny Bill Williams and Aiden Guerra on Rabbitoh Ben Lowe, […]

Hall, Ryan2

The A-List: Ryan Hall (:eeds & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HE can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 45 seconds, once addressed his team-mates on how Pythagorus Theorum affects every day life and plays saxophone, piano, guitar and violin. Leeds’ 105kg Ryan Hall may or may not be the best winger in the world – his team-mates call him ‘WBW’ anyway – but […]

Discord

DISCORD 2009: Edition 6

By STEVE MASCORD A COUPLE of weeks ago, British league legend Mike Stephenson let a pretty staggering development seep out onto the world, in the middle of his weekly magazine column. Stevo wrote in Rugby League Express that he knew of two Leeds businessmen who wanted to enter a team in the NRL. Not a […]

December 2014B

BONDI BEAT: December 2014

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S not overstating things that there has been something of a paradigm shift in out game as a result of the recently-completed Four Nations. I have a favourite saying about the warring factions within our game: the parochial populists and the outward-looking anoraks: if the meek are to inherit the earth, then […]

New_NRL_logo

THE WRAP: NRL Finals Week One

By STEVE MASCORD MY furry colleague at Rugby League Week, the Mole, last week wrote that Greg Inglis was unlikely to play in the World Cup due to his ongoing knee problem. So when the finals series kicked off on Friday night, a couple of hours before kick-off between South Sydney and Melbourne at ANZ […]

RLW 19 2012

RLW MEDIA RELEASE: Issue 19

POORE OUT, RAP FOR JT AND MANGO, DEFIANT SEARLE, STUART LINKED TO DRAGONS, TARIQ DETERMINATION, AGENTS OF CHANGE PARRAMATTA prop Justin Poore is set to leave the club before the June 30 deadline, the Mole reports in today’s Rugby League Week. Canberra are favourites to sign Poore, who hasn’t really settled in since moving from […]

The Big Issue

THE BIG ISSUE: #60

By STEVE MASCORD EVERY year, around this time, a column like this appears that critiques the NRL finals format. This year, the concerns are not on the field. Sydney Roosters and South Sydney have been the best sides all year and they are facing opposition this weekend in the preliminary finals that most people expect […]

The Big Issue

THE BIG ISSUE: #60

By STEVE MASCORD EVERY year, around this time, a column like this appears that critiques the NRL finals format. This year, the concerns are not on the field. Sydney Roosters and South Sydney have been the best sides all year and they are facing opposition this weekend in the preliminary finals that most people expect […]

Far & Wide

FAR & WIDE: October 2014

By STEVE MASCORD JACKSONVILLE Axemen owner Daryl “Spinner” Howland says a successful move to the NFL by Jarryd Hayne could be a massive boost for rugby league in the States. While there’s been plenty of hand-wringing within the game over the departure of a current co-Dally M holder, Howland says such an attitude is “crazy”. […]

therealsteavis - View my recent photos on Flickriver
P1020693

Jailbreak: The Story Of Sol Mokdad

By STEVE MASCORD BEING jailed in Dubai is Hell. “I couldn’t dp my NRL fantasy comp for two weeks,” says Sol Mokdad, weaving through the ancient narrow lanes of Exeter in south-west England. “Lost both weeks. Shocking.” The smiley 30-year-old beside me bears little resemblance to the dissident, refusenik, suffragette, martyr (“the word ‘martyr is […]

Tedesco, James

NRL round two: WESTS TIGERS 42 GOLD COAST 12 at CBUS Super Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD WESTS Tigers coach Michael Potter feared fullback James Tedesco‘s potential-laden season  was over almost before it began. Fans of the joint venture – even those with sunburn at a sweltering CBUS Super Stadium – went pale when the 21-year-old play motionless after a first half collision during the 42-12 pizzling of Gold […]

Rugby_league_world_cup_logo

World Cup first quarter-final: NEW ZEALAND 40 SCOTLAND 4 at Headingley

By STEVE MASCORD SCOTLAND deliberately maximised the embarassment of rugby league officials by announcing as the most important game in their history kicked off that their funding had been completely withdrawn. New Zealand cruised through the World Cup quarter-final at Headingley as expected, winning 40-4 to set up a semi-final appearance with England with centre […]

NRLmelsgi

NRL round six: MELBOURNE 28 ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 24 at AAMI Park

By STEVE MASCORD VICTORIAN junior Young Tonumapea called it dream-like experience while St George Illawarra coach Steve Price immediately started asking why his own nightmare was allowed to happen. Melbourne Storm produced the season’s greatest escape when Tonumaipea scored after the siren, with the ball swept from sideline to sideline, to beat the Dragons 28-24 […]

Melbourne - Craig Bellamy

Bellamy Says Some Aussie Clubs Still Don’t Take WCC Seriously

AS the World Club Challenge looks to return to Australia and then expand, victorious Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy last night admitted some NRL premiers still don’t take the concept seriously. Bellamy was speaking after the Storm held off Leeds 18-14 at Headingley, making them the first Australian club to win a WCC decider three times […]

December 2014B

BONDI BEAT: December 2014

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S not overstating things that there has been something of a paradigm shift in out game as a result of the recently-completed Four Nations. I have a favourite saying about the warring factions within our game: the parochial populists and the outward-looking anoraks: if the meek are to inherit the earth, then […]

US Tomahawks

American Civil War Wages On

By STEVE MASCORD YOU know how it was supposed to happen. The United States Tomahawks would shrug off criticism that they were just a bunch of Aussies who went to a bucks weekend in Vegas, capture the hearts of everyone at the World Cup, make the quarter-finals and with the glow of their success still […]

KC Stadium, 4.45pm

Four Nations: ENGLAND 28 NEW ZEALAND 6 at KC Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD THE Kiwis’ Four Nations title defence finished prematurely yesterday with no regrets but coach Stephen Kearney issued a stern warning to errant hooker Issac Luke and utility Thomas Leuluai admitted some of his team-mates may have resented Rangi Chase chosing to play for England. The World Cup holders were comprehensively beaten, 28-6, […]

Aerosmith

AEROSMITH: About To Get A Grip (1991)

By STEVE MASCORD WE HAD to break the ice, so we DID it,” a buoyant Steven Tyler explains, when asked how he spent his first night in Australia. The pretty blonde make-up woman next to him doesn’t bat an eyelid. “Yeah, we did it… and, boy was it good,” she says with an unmistakably sordid […]

WLF TV: The Union – Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder interview

Loudmouth masthead

LOUDMOUTH: July 26, 1989

Compiled by STEVE MASCORD DIESEL will drive your dollar twice as far next month following the announcement of a second show on the Rock N Roll Tour for the Hordem Pavilion on Wednesday August 16. What’s more, lasi time we looked there was still a cuppla seats left for the first gig on August 15. So […]

KISS 3

ROCK CRUISING: Going Overboard (2012)

By STEVE MASCORD ON the final night of Vince Neil’s Motley Cruise in 2008, shortly before the aforementioned peroxide imp was about to go on in front of a raucous crowd of heartland head-bangers, a representative of Carnival Cruise lines approached the stage manager. “I’d like to make an announcement,” said the uniformed official, smiling. “Sure,” […]

Motley Crue

MOTLEY CRUE: Feeling Minnesota (1990)

By STEVE MASCORD THE mercury in Minneapolis is plunging mercilessly past zero as Middle America wallows in snow. Vince Neil, however, is waltzing down the hotel corridor towards his multi-room penthouse in a sleeveless v-neck shirt and blue boxer shorts. His dirty blonde hair spews out from under a neatly reversed baseball cap, just like […]

Slash

SLASH, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, 2012

Live review: SLASH at Thebarton Theatre, August 28 2012 By STEVE MASCORD NEW Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. A Tuesday night in Adelaide. After just three songs, they are neck-and-neck. This reviewer did not set out to compare the Slash show at Thebarton Theatre last night to Guns N’Roses all-bells-and-whistles outing at the Hard Rock Hotel […]

Danko Jones - Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

Album review: DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue By STEVE MASCORD THIS reviewer first saw Danko Jones opening for Hardcore Superstar in Manchester a decade ago. It was spellbinding, this swaggering braggart sweating all over the first 10 rows as he tore through impossibly catchy tales of road life. It was […]

P1040238

MICHAEL MONROE: Finnish But Just Starting (2011)

By STEVE MASCORD THERE’s a neat news angle from this chat with Michael Monroe. But it’s only a fraction of the actual story. Read the full story at sludgefactory.com.au

Crossing from Denmark to Sweden @SwedenRock
WLF dinkus

WHITE LINE FEVER Column: Four

By STEVE MASCORD THIS time last year, Darren Lockyer and Jamie Peacock were tackling each other in the Four Nations. Yesterday, they met in London to tackle the vexed issue of rugby league’s eligibility rules. Of course, the retired captains of Australia and England (Peacock is still playing for Leeds) had a little prompting from […]

Travels

TRAVELS: XXVI

By STEVE MASCORD AS you might imagine, after five weeks attending matches, dinners and media events in Britain, one gains a few extra pounds – and a better understanding of the challenges facing rugby league here. What I am about to offer are a bunch of assumptions based on conversations with all manner of people […]

Puig Aubert

The Year Players And Referees Walked Off Mid-Game – Repeatedly

By LYLE BEATON A REVIEW of the French sporting press out of Paris during the early 1950s reveals an interesting story about rugby league and one of the strongest French club teams of the day, Marseille. The 1952-1953 season saw Marseille involved in something of a running battle with the French Rugby League hierarchy, as […]

Canterbury - logo

2013 Season Review: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

By STEVE MASCORD IN a way, these Rugby League Week year-enders can serve as historical records. You can leaf through old dog eared copies of the The Bible and relive what went right – and wrong – for your favourite team. But in the case of 2012 grand finalists, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the full story […]

retired - Phil McKenzie

Legend Q&A: PHIL McKENZIE

By STEVE MASCORD More than 20 years before Rangi Chase, Jack Reed and Chris Heighington, you were an Australian picked in a Great Britain squad.. “Yeah, way back in 1990, I was approached by the Rugby League over here and asked if I’d make myself available. I think that was before they even realised I […]

Hamish Neal

FIVE METRE GAP: Round Six & Rep Weekend

By HAMISH NEAL Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from round six and the representative weekend. WITH the representative weekend taking centre stage last weekend, Five Metre Gap, will take this chance to assess some of the season’s action to date, […]

McCarthy, Tyrone

Fullblood: An Englishman Who Plays For Ireland & Lives In Queensland

By STEVE MASCORD PROFESSIONAL rugby league players get a bad rap. At best, they are seen as mindless automatons, oblivous to the nuances of life around them, trained wholely to run at brick walls and tackle semi-trailers. At worse, our football stars are portrayed as oafish, neanderthal hoons with no regard for anyone but themselves. […]

P1020444

M3: The Last Of The Great Hair Metal Festivals? (2011)

By STEVE MASCORD TED Poley has a sportscar. I can only assume he wants you to know this, since the lead singer of Danger Danger has insisted he be interviewed by Classic Rock standing behind it, with the motor running. We had encountered Poley after his band’s set at M3, arguably the last pure hair […]

Donor's Column

Protected: DONORS’ COLUMN: Number Three

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Canterbury - logo

2013 Season Review: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

By STEVE MASCORD IN a way, these Rugby League Week year-enders can serve as historical records. You can leaf through old dog eared copies of the The Bible and relive what went right – and wrong – for your favourite team. But in the case of 2012 grand finalists, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the full story […]

Don Furner/ABC

Raiders’ Complaints ‘Irrelevant’, Says Slater

By STEVE MASCORD MELBOURNE fullback Billy Slater has dismissed Canberra’s complaints about his involvement in a trial match as “irrelevant” while coach Craig Bellamy says he “can’t understand” his former club’s complaint to the NRL over the issue. A joust between the Raiders and Storm has erupted over Slater playing in a trial between the […]

Hamish Neal

FIVE METRE GAP: NRL Finals Week One

By HAMISH NEAL Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from the first week of the finals. The now-legendary Geoff Toovey blow-up over penalty counts which earned the Manly mentor a $10,000 fine wasn’t needed despite the Silvertails narrow 4-0 loss to […]

sinbinsign1

SIN BIN: October 25 2013

By STEVE MASCORD THE most embarrassing bombed try in international rugby league history? Not according to those who saw Martin Offiah’s clanger 23 years ago. “Embarrassed to not score, but nothing wrong with a lil humble pie,” Sonny Bill Williams tweeted after his left foot slipped over the dead ball line as he attempted to […]

The Joy Of Six

JOY OF SIX: round one 2015

By STEVE MASCORD SEEING RED OVER MOSES WHAT if Dallas Donnelly pulled up outside an NRL ground in his time travelling Delorian and went inside for a gander? What would he make of a competition where you are sent to the sin bin for punching someone but stay on the field for a deadset coat-hanger? […]

Gold Coast - Luke Bailey

Getting The Journalism Wooden Spoon

By STEVE MASCORD COVERING a footy match seems a pretty straightforward task. I remember a Julia Roberts movie where the main male love interest was a sportswriter, depicted in the press box with a beer in hand and not a notebook in sight. Read the full story at footyalmanac.com.au

retired - Phil McKenzie

Legend Q&A: PHIL McKENZIE

By STEVE MASCORD More than 20 years before Rangi Chase, Jack Reed and Chris Heighington, you were an Australian picked in a Great Britain squad.. “Yeah, way back in 1990, I was approached by the Rugby League over here and asked if I’d make myself available. I think that was before they even realised I […]

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