It’s well documented that IMG are to take over the commercial and marketing side of rugby league with the global management company facing the task of making rugby league more financially viable.
How they will do this isn’t fully known, there have been initiatives laid out with suggestions of a reformed Super League based on revenues and social media presences but in the midst of West Wales Raiders folding in December there’s plenty for the company to undertake.
Rugby league isn’t the only sport that has financial difficulties and whilst it’s on a different money scale and a different code, rugby union has suffered similar issues regarding financing and clubs going under.
That had prompted a government report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that would inquire into how such financial mismanagement was allowed, and also how it can be prevented.
Union saw teams such as Wasps and Worcester Warriors have difficulties whilst in rugby league the incident of West Wales Raiders is sadly not an isolated one.
Whitehaven came forward in the aftermath of their League One counterparts stating that they had struggled and contemplated folding, plus in the last decade teams such as Bradford Bulls, Widnes Vikings and Toronto Wolfpack have had documented issues, the last team ceasing to exist.
The concluding thoughts of the government report into union stated: “The financial situation of Premiership clubs is clearly unsustainable.
“The demise during the playing season of two Premiership clubs is a stain on the reputation of the RFU and PRL. It is not indicative of a healthy professional setup.
“We welcome the planned reforms to prevent similar occurrences in the future, but such alarming circumstances should not have been required in order for the RFU and PRL to realise the necessity of these reforms.
“While professional rugby clubs are independent businesses that must be allowed to tread their own financial paths, there can be no doubt that the sport’s administrators must have a responsibility to safeguard the game”
There’s been no suggestion that a similar inquiry will take place regarding rugby league but should IMG conduct their own internal reviews then these damning statements surrounding the 15-man code could influence their approach.
The government further went on to state the necessity for the RFU to provide detailed finances, something which IMG will almost certainly require the RFL to do as they bid to make the sport we love more commercially viable.
A link to the full rugby union report can be found here.