The Rugby League White Paper

By Daniel Andruczyk

Rugby League lacks a coherent structure around the world and this is what is holding it back as a legitimately recognised sport internationally. There are four areas that need to be addressed and in this White Paper they are looked at and coherent sensible solutions proposed that over time can be built upon. First the governing body, The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) needs to be streamlined, professionalised and independent of national administrative leaders and needs to have regional governing bodies come into the fold where nations have a greater say. Second a uniform set of laws for the game need to be brought in, not have the three or four that we have now. Third is that the eligibility rules need to be defined and enforced strictly. Fourth but probably the most important, is that there needs to be a coherent set of international tournaments that involved all nations to play the tournaments and promote and grow the game. As it is right now there is a gulf between the top three nations and then everyone else. Ensuring these four key areas in rugby league will not only ensure the sport internationally but also help the sport to combat domestic threats from other sports.

To read the full article on How to Grow Rugby League Internationally click here.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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41 Responses to “The Rugby League White Paper”

  1. Rick Farr says:

    I will read through your paper Dru when I have time, but just browsing the first couple of pages there is an obvious need for change in the RLIFs governance model. Nothing much can really be changed until they adopt a corporate model and seperate the executive body from the administrative/operational body.

    Once they have restructured the executive body can then produce the RLIF charter and appoint and oversee the RLIFs management team, who would run the actual operations of the RLIF (continued out of Sydney to be practical about it).

    Only when this is done can the next step be taken, which is to fully comply with Australian IFRS (international financial reporting standards), and full reporting and disclosure standards in accordance with the financial transactions reporting act.

    Statutory independent audits and presentation of financial reports would then satisfy all stakeholders that the RLIF is following best practice. From there, correcting the many faults you have no doubt highlighted in your paper (and many more) can begin.

    Until the RLIF does what I just outlined, they will not have the transparency or accountability to satisfy its many stakeholders including national and regional bodies, sponsors, various government sporting agencies and many, many others.

    The thing that concerns me is the fact that every member of the current RLIF board would know all this. The only plausible reason for it not happening is compliance costs, but I am fairly sure the $5 million net profit from the 2008 WC would have covered it.

  2. RI Rebellion says:


    Great Whitepaper. You can definitely tell you put in the time. Its a great product.

  3. Rick Farr says:

    That is to be expected I suppose (the size of the paper), despite the many criticisms of the RLIF they do represent a sport of substantial size across the globe. Very informative paper though Dru, I’ll read every word you type with great interest.

    It will be interesting to see what changes do occur at the RLIF now that the IC is in control of the NRL. If the IC is serious about supporting the international game, some immediate restructuring of the RLIF should occur.

    If this doesn’t happen, cynics would argue the IC is acting to protect the club game at the expense of the international game.

    • druzik says:

      Well its not the ICs job to do that, they run the game domestically in Australia, the last thing I want to see is them get involved in the International politics … it would not change the situation we have now, basically.

      • Rick Farr says:

        You are right it is not their job, but the IC have already indicated they intend to provide greater support for international rugby league. But RLIF restructuring would need the support of all it’s stakeholders including the IC.

        The IC needs to have executive authority in the RLIF alongside other national bodies, but it needs to be more balanced than it is now. In this role they can provide strategic support for international Rugby League, broad policy and appointment of managers. But they would be separated from the management of the game, which is how a corporate governance model operates: separation of ownership/executive and management.

      • druzik says:

        The ARLC will be represented but through the Rugby League Asia-Pacific federation. The RLIF would have 5 independent voting people, while 4 spots come from the Regional federations. Those people chosen to represent them will have the interests of those nations in their federation. The ARLC would be part of the RLAPF which in turn looks out for their interests as with the other nations.

      • Rick Farr says:

        Taking what works from other international sporting bodies, with adjustments for Rugby Leagues own unique circumstances would be a good approach.

        Easier said than done, and the RLIF doesn’t have the resources yet to hire a fully functional international management team independent of the board, but if they are serious about international growth that is where I would be prioritizing their budget.

      • druzik says:

        Yes, I would have thought that the $5million should have gone into that originally.

    • Rick Farr says:

      I’ll need to examine that model more closely when I have time before commenting further. What body does the RLAPF sit on? Shouldn’t the regional bodies be organized as subsidiaries of the RLIF if they are performing functional and administrative roles?

      Therefore, the regional bodies should be sub-ordinate to the international body (RLIFs management body) but entirely independent from the RLIF executive body. Voting of the executive board should be handled directly by the member nations ( like other international sports, re the ICC, FIFA and IRB charters).

      • druzik says:

        Yes that is the idea I had. I think that is what happens with the RLEF.

        Right now, there is a Pacific Federation, that is very loosely held together, I have not heard much from them recently, but in my paper I would have the Asian and Pacific Countries come together.

        As you say, basing them on the models other sports have would be smartest. I would think that FIFA would most probably have the best model to look at.

  4. PNG says:

    Great report Druzik I can’t argue against any of the points you make in the report .Do you have any plans to send the report on to the RLIF ? once again great read keep up the good work .

  5. Chris Sanders says:

    You just answered your own question Rick Farr!The RLIF is all about the NRL and SL Clubs and to hell with the International Game!
    It doesn’t help matters that nearly a third of the World Cup profits were squandered on the 2009 Pacific Cup in PNG which amounted to 1.5 million and time to scrap that competition for good as it’s not financially sustainable anymore!How can we have confidence in the RLIF when something like that happens and time for new blood and Gallop and Carter should be the first 2 people sacked!
    And when are we ever going to see the audits for the last 2 World Cups?
    It’s long overdue!!

    • druzik says:

      The audits are long over due, I agree on that.

      • Rick Farr says:

        Independent audits are statutory requirements under the Australian Corporations act, thats why I am saying the RLIF and its RLWC subsidiary need to comply with Aus IFRS. Under the same act they are required to provide full disclosure of the annual reports.

        The financial statements are then presented with the auditors report, it’s not the auditors report that we need to see but the full independently audited financial reports.

      • druzik says:

        Yes agree, that is a good point you make.

        In reality we should have like the IRB does, an annual report where this is provided publicly.

    • Rick Farr says:

      Or the ICC, FIFA or FIBA (basketball). They all have corporate governance models, with the executive body elected by its member nations bodies. The executive body then appoints its management team-its quite straight forward really.

      Until the RLIF adopts this model, the NRL and to a lesser extent the SL are going to be able to act unilaterally purely for their own interests.

      The structure at the moment is a serious barrier to the international development of the game-just look at the mess that results in developing nations such as the US and Italy. How can an organization like the RLIF which doesn’t have its own house in order be expected to provide support for member nations to get their houses in order?

  6. KeighleyWeb says:

    Great paper, as usual, time and study has been spent looking into the full implementations of all of these program and development.

    Why can we not have more dedicated people like you, but running the game not working out how it should be run.

    Keep it up.


  7. Chris Sanders says:

    That’s the whole problem with Rugby League!She’s a club game and until that mentality or mindset changes,nothing will ever change!
    The RFL seem to be more interested in Bradford Bulls,the ARLC is only a 2 man band of Gallop and Carr and both of them have been miserable failures too and Scott Carter,the so-called boss of the RLIF,hasn’t shown any iniative or leadership at all,is only a puppet on a string to the Auckland Mafia that controls the whole game here in the Shakey Isles!
    This is why our game is struggling and until we have genuine Rugby League people running the RLI,who have some idea how to make things work for the betterment of Rugby League,she will be a long game!
    Name people to lead the charge Daniel??I can name plenty,who would make a big difference,especially in the 3 principal countries of England,Australia and NZ as well as France!

    • druzik says:

      I am not sure Carr is in the ARLC… they got rid of him almost staright away I thought?

      I would not have anyone that has anything to do with rugby league run the RLIF… it needs to be independents.

      • Chris Sanders says:

        Well!If nothing else the forums and FB are now starting to make our administrators more accountable and transparent and change will happen mark my words to stop the ongoing apathy!
        Rugby League people in the past have been their own worst enemies and deserved what they got!
        We can make change for the good of the World Game and time to stop this 3 Nations dictatorship for once and for all that does the International Game no favours at all!!
        Time to nip it in the bud!

      • Rick Farr says:

        Dru, I largely agree with that, an effective RLIF management team doesn’t need to have a background in Rugby League itself, and as you suggest they would want to avoid any baggage.

        There is a point I would like to add which may offer some hope for the future. There is a threshold that the RLIF will pass eventually in terms of their financial strength, at which time they will have to meet much stricter statutory requirements in their reporting and disclosure standards (including independent audits). In short, they won’t be able to keep their financial activities to themselves forever.

        I’ll have to look it up in the Australian statutes (I’m well versed with the NZ equivalents), but I’m fairly certain it is based on revenue, total assets, number of employees and separation of ownership and management.

        Of course the NRL and SL puppet-masters may try moving the RLIF to another country before then, but that move could backfire on them if they don’t choose carefully.

      • druzik says:

        Yes, Richard Lewis came into Super League from tennis, he was a sports administrator and not a “Rugby League” person and the sport has done well under him, he has represented Great Britain in Tennis too and so knows the value of international competitions and hence why the RLEF has strengthened while he’s been at the helm there.

        So the issue with the board is, I am not saying that it can’t be an Aussie, or Kiwis or Brit at the helm, just not someone that has come through any of the established rugby league organisations, I think that they just get too warped in the old dogged ways to be effective. Having a familiarity of the sport will help, I am not saying that a person can’t be familiar with the sport. But in terms of the organisations they come from they need to be non-rugbyleague… I would try and grab a soccer administrator to start with believe it or not.

        Well I think it should not matter on how big your organisation is, if you are supposed to be the governing body you need to have your activities public.

    • Rick Farr says:

      There appears to be some intransigence on the part of the RLIF with regards to disclosure and transparency. But what I am arguing is that the RLIF will eventually be obligated to ‘open up the books’-so it is not a matter of what supporters of Rugby League want to happen but what eventually will happen under Australian law.

      • druzik says:

        Well here is a question, does the NRL and other federations have their books open for public display like other sports. I don’t think I have ever seen one?

  8. PNG says:

    I’ll be checking out the debate on league unlimited thanks for the info . Please let everyone know what sort of response you get back from the RLIF here on your website that is if you ever get a response.I for one realy like the structure you propose and think it’s a major step in the right direction for the game internationaly.

  9. Chris Sanders says:

    Where’s the Headquarters of the RLIF?Still in Philip St,Sydney,NSW,Australia??If so,say no more as the game still revolves around Sydney and the plight of the NRL Clubs located there!!
    Time for a revolution in the game!

    • druzik says:

      Well, it has to be somewhere. Right now with the ARL/NRL having so much control there it’s probably obvious why its there.

      If it were me, I would have it in one of two places, Either in England somewhere, or in France.

      There could be an argument made for also hosting the RLIF in a more neutral country that is more central to the whole world.

  10. Ashley says:

    Once again, your tournament structure is very good. I’ve spend the odd hour here and there trying to think up a meaningful international structure but after reading your’s I don’t think I need to bother anymore.

    If there was any sense in rugby league your structure or a similar one to it would be implemented from 2013 onwards.

    Sadly there is the reality of the current structure and all the things you point out in your paper. For instance you have a 4 year structure while we have a five year one at the minute 08-13 and I don’t think it’s decided yet whether the next world cup will be 2017 or 2018, I’ve seen organisations like the RLI say the “2017/2018” world cup. What I mean by even pointing this out i that international rugby league has an almost random structure. It’s improved a little since the 08 world cup but we still have tournaments sporadicaly like the pacific cup, a lean year (this year) and a world cup that tends to be played randomly when they can be bothered, though thankfully I think that’s a thing of the past.

    International rugby legaue gives us plenty of food for thought, so thanks for your paper which I’m sure is similar in thinking to a lot of other fans.

  11. Chris Sanders says:

    I think it’s in Australia maybe at the new headquarters of Rugby League Central?

  12. PNG says:

    So druzik did you ever get a reply from the RLIF or even some notification that they had recieved it

    • druzik says:

      I did actually, and when I was in London last month I had a chat with Danny Kazandjian about it. We talked about the merrits about it and where he felt it was not feasable etc… a constructive conversation none the less.

      We agreed on more things than disagreed actually.

      • PNG says:

        so are they going to adopt any of your suggestions , or make some changes to international program & elligibility .

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