By STEVE MASCORD
PEACE negotiations between rugby league’s warring bodies in the United States have collapsed, with one club posting a statement describing the AMNRL – which sent the popular USA Tomahawks to the World Cup – as “defunct”.
An AMNRL source denied this but Discord has been told that a peace deal was agreed upon, only for last minute complications to scupper the arrangement. It appears the USARL feels it is in a dominant position and has decided to finish off its rival.
The AMNRL has vowed to fight on, while the USARL promises major announcements in the coming weeks – even though it is not the officially recognised body for the sport in America.
NY Raiders posted the following statement on its site in the last day or so:
“We, The Raiders, an American Rugby League Football Club, based in New York, former member in good standing of the now defunct AMNRL, today declare our neutrality from any and all self appointed, unelected, officers, officials, negotiators, organizations, agents, governing bodies or their affiliates,” it said.
“This decision derives from continuing inter league politics detrimental to the sport and our team. Neutrality aside, we reserve our right play and remain committed to competing in the upcoming 2014 Rugby League season.
“We strive for a forward thinking, transparent, inclusive governing body manned by elected members willing to produce a structured, viable business model for our sport.”
Apparently the Raiders did not respect the independent commission set up under the peace deal – a peace deal which has fallen through anyway. The other new country in last year’s World Cup, Italy, also has a divided comp.
It’s a mess – and exactly the sort of behaviour that gave birth to rugby league in the first place.
IT’S a relief that Newcastle have sacked Russell Packer.
But the way the Integrity Unit does its business these days, does the action (or inaction) of the club really matter? Is there any use “standing by” a player who is never allowed to play?
In the cases of several pre-season incidents, the Integrity Unit probably still has plans. What happens if there are several players and officials at the same club, even if it’s not the club’s fault? Can the club still be held accountable?
SUPER League is reportedly close to announcing a naming rights sponsor.
But there is still uncertainty over the structure of the competition beyond this year. In the last month, Bradford’s entire board has quit before returning and London needed to be saved at the 11th hour. They are still trying to piece together a team for 2014.
THANKS to those who commented regardling the first column of the year, which concerned itself with nines rugby league and whether former greats add or detract to the concept.
By STEVE MASCORD