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Despite the positive responces shown towards Rugby League Irelands plans for a Conference Competition, The rugby unions governing body were about to show their true colours.
Exact Transcript of IRFU letter sent on 19th Jan 04
19th January, 2004.
Mr D.Southern Rugby League Ireland,
Thank you for your letters of 7th January and 19th January.
I am surprised at your concern about the letter sent to I.R.F.U. clubs regarding insurance as I made it quite clear at our meeting that this would be an issue and any variances in cover would need to be highlighted. Following advice from our insurance brokers on areas of disparity we have informed our clubs of the facts ? the least we can do as a responsible NGB. Of course it is up to the clubs and their players to decide themselves whether to participate in your summer competitions or not ? they do so in the knowledge of the insurance covers in place.
PHILIP BROWNE Chief Executive
RUGBY LEAGUE IRELAND ? PROPOSED SUMMER COMPETITION
Rugby League Ireland (RLI) are associated with the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA).
We understand that RLI intend to operate a competition next summer and may well be actively approaching IRFU clubs to enter a team.
Whilst the IRFU cannot prevent clubs or individuals in taking part in such rugby league competitions, we would remind clubs that the closed off season is purposely intended to prevent Rugby Union activity and thereby allow players a recuperation period from the rigours of the modern game. We believe that participation in a Rugby League competition in this off season would certainly compound existing injuries, introduce new injuries and may well have a long term injury affect on the start of the new Rugby Union season.
In addition, we would point out that the Compulsory Personal Accident insurance scheme provided by the IRFU together with any additional top-up cover arranged by clubs or individuals will not extend to cover Rugby League competitions. We understand the RLI may have separate cover in force but the benefits are extremely low compared with the IRFU scheme and there are a number of pre-requisites requiring membership of the RLI before cover may operate.
We strongly recommend that you make your rugby personnel and membership aware of these points.
PHILIP BROWNE Chief Executive
28th January 2004
Enslosures: ? Leeds Tykes RFC Letter ? espousing the benefits of cross code cooperation at club level ? Aberavon RFC Letter - espousing the benefits of cross code cooperation at club level ? Bartlett & Company ? RLI insurance brokers on the adequacy of cover ? RLC UK press release ? over 75% of new clubs affiliated with Rugby Union clubs I am following up a letter I sent to your Club President prior to Christmas outlining a number of tangible benefits that your Club could gain from being involved in the proposed summer RLC Competition and inviting you to take part. The response received to date is extremely encouraging. I also believe that it may be helpful to provide some further reassurance for your club as to the benefits and the player welfare, such as insurance etc. I believe this was also mentioned in a letter that Philip Browne CEO IRFU may have sent to you in the recent past. Insurance cover for players I met Philip Browne at 62 Lansdowne Rd just before Christmas and he raised insurance as an issue. I assured Philip that Public Liability, Personal Accident as well as Group Life Cover was mandatory for any amateur RL teams playing in the RLC competition.
Philip enquired as to the cost of club premiums, when it was indicated that each club is required to pay approximately ?500 a question was raised as to how could it be so cost-effective? The response was we leverage the buying power of the UK amateur league where 20,000 plus players are covered and have been for generations. We can therefore offer extremely competitive insurance premiums as part of their group scheme numbering close on 1,600 teams. Philip pointed out that the IRFU cover available was obviously more expensive than that on offer by RLI since the benefits were on the whole greater. The attached letter from the highly reputable Bartlett & Company Ltd Insurance Brokers indicates that teams playing in Irish Summer RLC Comp ?will benefit from exactly the same level of personal accident cover as is arranged for amateur RL clubs throughout the UK which is deemed sufficient for in excess of 20,000 players.?
The final word on the insurance issue is given over to Philip Browne in a letter received dated 19th January 04 - ?Of course it is up to the clubs and their players to decide for themselves whether to participate in your summer competition or not ? they do so in the knowledge of the insurance covers in place?. For the record Rugby League Ireland is standalone and is in no way affiliated to a UK association but is in fact directly affiliated to the sport?s world governing body, the RL International Federation, as an independent member. Playing in The Summer Philip Browne has also spoken about players playing in the off-season and potential detrimental affects. I indicated to Philip that we are not looking to replicate the structures of a RU club, which may run a number of teams; we are simply looking to assemble one team per club and if players are carrying injuries they will obviously not participate. I made reference in my original correspondence that the growth of the RLC in the UK has been exponential; they started off with 12 clubs in 1997 and have a competition involving just under 70+ teams this coming summer ? approximately 75% of the teams competing have a very strong RU background. The attached letter from the Aberavon RFC Director of Rugby indicates the benefits that his club have derived from playing RL in the summer, one particular quote states that ?There is no conflict between Union and League, they are mutually compatible core businesses and possess a financial synergy which anyone would be hard pressed to replicate with two other sports?. This statement epitomizes our thought train furthermore anybody who thinks RL is out to undermine or damage the heritage of RU is extremely wide of the mark, we can all work together to further the playing and familiarity of the oval ball game in Ireland. Response to date from Prospective Clubs The response to date from clubs similar to yourselves has been very positive. They can see the benefits of being involved in a Provincial RL Conference set-up (Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connacht). A few concerns were aired by clubs on receipt of a letter sent by Philip Browne (Jan 04) it is hoped that this letter and its enclosures will do two things firstly dispel any concerns and confusion and secondly clarify any issues you may have. If not I am happy to take calls. Rugby League Ireland is willing to extend the application period for clubs wishing to receive, complete and submit an application form. The closing date for clubs to return application forms is Friday 27th February 2004. This is in response to the extra interest that has been generated recently and my subsequent follow-up conversations with applicant clubs. As Rugby supporters we at RLI are convinced that the deployment of the Summer RLC Competition will bring additional interest, enjoyment and ultimate success to both codes of rugby in Ireland. It is hoped that you will share this vision of a year-round movement of the oval-ball and respond promptly and positively to this posting invitation. Do you want to play?
As you can no doubt see, the IRFU did NOT want this competition to eventuate.