For the last few weeks I have been searching through various on-line and off-line media outlets to find some information about the series of RL Nines festivals which are currently taking place in the UK. To put it mildly, it has been very difficult but if organised and marketed correctly, these festivals could provide a significant boost to international RL and provide new opportunities for players.
I suggest that the international element is emphasised with a core group of countries taking part and it wouldn't be difficult to make a commitment that teams representing England, Wales, France, Australia, NZ would compete throughout. The festivals should be held with as wide a geographical spread as possible with an intention to expand and (at least) England, Wales and France would be a good starting point. Invitations could be issued to other teams, nations or organisations such as BARLA, NZ Maoris, Australian Aborigine, Jacksonville Axemen, Queensland Residents, GB Army etc or perhaps applications could be sought. The competing players needn't be professional and I'm sure players of all nationalities would jump at the chance to represent their country if asked.
The aim must be to develop a series of events similar to the RU Sevens tournaments which take place throughout the world but TV coverage and thus sponsorship are vital. I notice that the Junior RU World Cup has been shown on SKY recently and a European Nations Cup has been on Eurosport. Rugby League organises similar tournaments without significant media coverage. Why not?
These are issues for the RLIF which must be the most useless organisation in existence. It met recently in Australia and I'm still waiting for some news about what was discussed and some information about the upcoming Four Nations. They should be sacked.
The RLIF should be a independent body with paid officials who are given a remit to organise successful, international RL tournaments throughout the world and maximise income from them. This includes regular Four Nations, World Cups, European Cups, Pacific Cups and International RL Nines Festivals. It is desperately needed and long overdue.