Three posts in a week. Bloody hell. We’re spoiling you.
If there’s a word the is disliked more than “expansionist” here at Piss Towers it’s “internationalist”, but let’s face it, that’s exactly what we are.
It’s just a bit weird that people don’t want the game to grow and prosper, don’t you think?
We sort of get that the parochial view of the public in regards to the game, but when the governing body charged with ensuring that the sport thrives seems determined to shoot itself in the foot, it pisses us right off.
The thing is, throughout most of the world, Rugby League is not recognised as a separate sport from rugby union.
The International Olympic Committee and Sport Accord do not even consider us a sport.
The upshot of this is that if someone in some far flung country in the middle of no-where like, you know, South Africa or Italy want to start a Rugby League team they will face hurdles in terms of getting government funding, the players will be unable to get insurance and, in some cases, even getting a paddock to run around on can be an issue.
In places such as that, it has meant that their rugby union official bodies can come along and say that they have the right to run the 13 man code and stop it being played at all.
In the United Arab Emirates, the bloke who started the Rugby League national team and tried to get a University Tournament up and running was arrested, imprisoned and only eventually released after he signed a document stating that he relinquished control of the sport. Union’s governing body World Rugby were silent throughout. Funny that.
Anyway, our bid to be recognised by Sport Accord keeps being put back, it’s been waiting for well over 18 months to be brought before them and will hopefully discussed in April.
The importance behind this is that if we can be recognised as a sport by them, then it’s really difficult for governments to not give fledgling national teams help.
Right so, after three whole paragraphs of digression we should probably get to our point about where the game is shooting itself in the foot.
Imagine organising a World Cup in the only major country in the world where Rugby League has a proper foothold.
Australia, for example.
Then imagine saying that some of the minor nations that didn’t qualify for the main tournament couldn’t sort their own Emerging Nations World Cup at the same time.
Initially the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) said that they couldn’t fund it, which is probably fair enough.
They then said that they would have no problem taking place if they were self-funded.
They must not have expected a group of lads from Latvia, Vanuatu and Thailand etc. sorting out travel, accommodation and insurance.
But you know what? They only bloody well did.
The idea was for the games to be played as curtain raisers before the main world cup games, but that didn’t happen.
The RLIF said that they could have played one off games but a full tournament was not allowed so they went about organising one in and around Sydney for the same time – bearing in mind that there’s only one game in Sydney throughout all of the RLWC 2017.
So you know, it’s not like Malta v Greece will be in direct competition with, say, England v France in Perth, or Latvia vs Niue would be drawing fans away from Samoa v Tonga in a whole other fucking country.
But the organising committee of RLWC have lobbied the RLIF to withdraw approval for the Emerging Nations Finals.
Cancelling a tournament is a bit of a shit thing to do, but cancelling a tournament after the money had been raised, flights had been booked and publicity had been sorted is a proper cunts trick.
In the current vernacular, it’s gone off. Big time.
Journalist Robert Burgin (a bloke that has a Rugby League comp named after him in South America, so you could say he’s in the know) says that “Close to a dozen” national federations are considering breaking away from the RLIF in protest, quoting unnamed officials saying they never got any help anyway.
Canada – you know, Canada as in Toronto Wolfpack, as in the Toronto Wolfpack that are playing in Championship 1 this year and getting loads of headlines and stuff – were one of the nations confirmed to take part.
Now, it’s not going to look great if the newest and potentially biggest emerging nation were to join a rebel international federation would it?
Our sport is pretty limited in terms of the amount of nations that actually play the bloody thing, so we can’t afford to be pissing 12 of them off.
You know what one of the criteria for recognition by Sport Accord (and you thought that this was thrown together, look at the planning there) is?
You’ve guessed it.
The number of countries linked to a governing body.