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Adult Competition Review Summary of findings to date
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  1. Adult Competition Review Summary of findings to date

  2. RFU Adult Competition Review • Commissioned in autumn 2011 • Steering Group comprising: • RFU representatives – Council & executive • DoRs from Levels 3 and 7 • Independents from other sports / organisations Terms of reference: • To establish the most appropriate competition model at each level of the game, such as meets the needs of both players and clubs • To incorporate sufficient flexibility within the overall competition model to allow it to be adjusted in the event of variances within the playing population (e.g., in the aftermath of the Rugby World Cup 2015) Reporting lines: RFU Competitions Sub-Committee ↓ Rugby Growth Sub-Committee ↓ Community Game Board ↓ Board of Directors ↓ RFU Council • Methodology: • Desk research • Comparator review: • Other Unions • Other team sports • Consultation

  3. Scope of the Review • Pyramid league structure • Promotion & relegation • Home / away league format • Size of leagues • Cup rugby: • National • Divisional • County • County Championship • Seasonality: • Length of season • Position of season • Travel and cost • Club finances • 2nd XV and other lower teams • Student rugby / university teams • Sevens and Touch • Registration & regulation

  4. CBs: • CB league organisers, etc., in conference on w/e of 26-27 May • CB visits / qu’aire, July – October 2012 • Players & Coaches: • Market research project via Fresh Minds, May – Oct 2012 • Clubs: • Pilot survey through RDOs in NW in Mar – May 2012 • Roll-out to other regions, Jul – Oct 2012 • Sample club interviews, Jul – Aug 2012 • DOCs: • Initial consultations, Jan – Mar 2012 • NCA: • Executive meeting, Mon 2 April • NCA club qu’aire, Sept – Nov 2012 Competition review • Referees: • Questionnaire to referee societies, Apr – May 2012 • National moderation of outputs, June 2012 • RFUW: • Discrete internal review project shaped in line with RFU review • Regional staff: • Questionnaire to RDOs and CRCs, Jul – Aug 2012 • SRFU: • Discrete internal review project shaped in line with RFU review

  5. Data set now assembled Consultation input: Other evidence: Desk research: Rugby Landscape RFU player surveys Sport England surveys Comparator review: 4 x northern hemisphere unions 4 x English team sports Sample club interviews: Experiences of promotion and relegation • Over 1800 current and lapsed players, through independent market research • 246 rugby clubs from Levels 3 to 12, and all areas of England • 42 x NCA clubs in bespoke exercise • 4 x Divisional Organising Committees • Nineteen Constituent Bodies • Over 60 league competition organisers from regional, county and local levels • Eighteen Referee Societies • 268 students and 65 university staff • 136 regional and local rugby development personnel

  6. Picture of a changing landscape • The intensity and physicality of the game has increased considerably since (and largely because of) the introduction of league rugby, and this has impacted on the competitive profile of the game • Higher up the leagues there is a need for larger squads and more substitutes on match-day due to rates of attrition, and this reduces the number of players available for lower leagues and lower XVs • Professionalism / the payment of players also takes players up the pyramid and away from lower leagues, and has created a more itinerant, less stable playing population • The higher physical demands of the game can be a deterrent to recreational players, on the grounds that: • Family and work commitments prevent them from training up to the required standard; and • The fear of injury is enhanced • The perception is that the combined effect of the above is a reduction of the number of teams and players overall, and within clubs

  7. What does the consultation tell us? • Winter playing season • 35-week duration, with space for rescheduling, and no winter break • Pyramid league structure • Promotion & relegation is important: • But mechanisms around this, e.g., option to decline promotion • Leagues should be smaller, 10-12 teams, and evenly matched • Cup rugby is desirable, for variety: • But with guaranteed fixtures / second chances (e.g., Plate) • There is a desire for county rugby: • Valued by 67% of players • The cost of playing rugby is problematic to a relatively high number of clubs (see next slide) • Travel is not a huge barrier to players: • But flexible boundaries would help reduce travel times / distances • Flexible regulations at lower levels: • “Get the match played” • Rolling substitutions • (Findings re: university and women’s rugby, Sevens and Touch to be processed separately by relevant bodies within RFU)

  8. Where do we go with this? • One option is no change: • 70% of players and 87% of clubs are happy with current league rugby • Based on the consultation, it is arguable that there is no compelling reason to change • A second option is no fundamental change, but a few “tweaks”, e.g.: • Qualifications around promotion / relegation (65% of players believe clubs should be able to decline promotion) • Reformatting cup rugby to guarantee more fixtures • Some regulatory changes around substitutions and registration, etc. • However, NB the worrying statistic that 44 per cent of clubs stated that the cost of playing rugby is currently a problem for them: • At Levels 3-6, this was increased to 59 per cent • Regionally, 63% in NE, 56% in Yorkshire, 51% in East Midlands • Assume that the “cost of playing rugby” is twofold: • Payment of players • Fixture costs, including travel • Action therefore required to restrict player payments, and reduce travel costs: • Players (69%), CBs and RFU regional staff (75%) believe RFU should legislate around player payment at lower levels • Former to be addressed by an RFU Working Party to examine all related issues • Latter requires a third option which seeks to reduce travel times and distances, and therefore also costs: • “Flatten the pyramid”

  9. Option 3: “Straw Man”

  10. Option 3: “Straw Man” ctd

  11. “Straw Man” fixture format NB the RFU’s “Structured Season” is 35 weeks – need to allow for cup rugby, postponements, public holidays, etc.

  12. Current vs “Straw Man”: travel

  13. “Straw Man” impact on teams – by region

  14. “Straw Man” impact on teams – sample

  15. Summary of options

  16. Adult Competition Review