Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Mr David Roberts

  As an ardent Rugby League Fan, supporting the Wigan RLFC, I would like to offer you the following as my contribution to your Committee's deliberations, before you are tempted to put any monies into Rugby League.

  Before any further money, from whatever source, is put into Rugby League, is anyone aware of the costs of financing RFL headquarters, the Super League and Super League Europe. What percentage of the money paid by Sky and "going through the gates" actually finds its way into the clubs?

  The current falling gates are purely as a result of two factors, both of these factors falling within the control of the League headquarters. (1) the television deal with Sky meant that televised games were played at times and on dates to fit television schedules with no consideration for the fans (2) whatever the merits of summer rugby, the demands on the leisure time of the average fan during the summer months is far greater than in the winter months and gates are falling quite simply because of family commitments during the summer months.

  The fixture lists for Super League clubs are absolutely crazy. I have seen both coaches and players alike in the press and on the television state that far too many games are being played over too short a period. Three games in eight days is now not unusual. However, that aside, once again, what consideration is given to the fans—in my opinion—NONE. The average fan cannot leave their place of employment and then make a journey of many miles and be at a ground for an evening match on as many occasions as is currently being asked of them. These are the reasons that the gates are falling—the fans are being treated in a totally cavalier fashion by the "powers that be" and they are paying the price—falling gates. Please do not look any further than that, the answer to the falling crowds is in the hands of whoever compiles crazy fixture lists.

  I trust that I am giving the impression that despite the best endeavours of the clubs themselves, it is all for nothing when the people who make Rugby League what it is—the fans—appear to be the least consideration by those in authority. THAT IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH RUGBY LEAGUE.

  I trust that the views of not only myself, but many other like-minded fans will be taken into consideration by your Committee.

June 1999

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