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Koukash behind bid to introduce English franchise into NRL

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Jan 25, 2015.

By Berkeley_Eagle on Jan 25, 2015 at 9:49 AM
  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Adrian Proszenko
    Chief Rugby League Reporter

    British billionaire Marwan Koukash is behind an audacious bid to introduce an English club into an expanded NRL competition.

    Fairfax Media can reveal that Koukash, who owns English club Salford Red Devils, has already secured an international airline to sponsor the budding franchise.

    The development comes just days after former South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson was announced as the NRL's head of game strategy and development as part of the governing body's push to broaden rugby league's international footprint.

    The issue of expansion will again be on the Australian Rugby League Commission's agenda when the present broadcast deal expires at the end of 2017.

    While bids for new teams in New Zealand, Queensland, Perth and the central coast in an expanded competition have been mooted for some time, this is the first attempt to introduce an English-based franchise into the league's premier competition.

    "This the only way the sport is going to grow, through integration between the two competitions," Koukash told Fairfax Media.

    "I have asked the NRL if it would ever allow an English side to play in the NRL. The way it would work is you apply for a franchise and assemble a team over here that operates under the same salary cap as the NRL.

    "The team would come over to Australia to play all of its away games. Over three months they would play about a dozen games.

    "Then we would come back to England and host an Aussie team every week. The way we would do it is we'd take it to places like London, Manchester, areas outside the traditional geographical area of rugby league here.

    "Imagine bringing Souths and Brisbane and playing in London against a British team. That would be massive.

    "Some of those games could be played in places like Dubai and [Las] Vegas. It's about growing the sport globally."

    In an acknowledgment of the importance of the English game, the traditional World Club Challenge has been expanded this year to include six teams, three from each hemisphere.

    Brisbane and St George Illawarra will join premiers South Sydney in taking on the best of the British – Warrington, Wigan and reigning champions St Helens. But the new proposal will ensure there is a weekly clash between Australia and England if the NRL gives it the green light.

    Koukash said he had discussed his vision with NRL boss Dave Smith late last year and was planning to travel to Australia in March to further outline his proposal.

    While there will be logistical challenges due to the tyranny of distance – the scheduling of byes for travelling Australian teams will be crucial – Koukash believes they could be overcome.

    "If, for example, you play the Gold Coast [in England], they could play the week before on the Thursday," he said.

    "They could get here on the Saturday and that would give them a week to prepare for the game in London or Manchester or whatever. They play the game and shoot back, so if they play the following Sunday that would give them eight days to get back to Australia. It will only be once a year for every [Australian or New Zealand] team."

    Koukash has come from humble beginnings. Born in Palestine, as an eight-year-old he had to walk with his family for three days without food after the family farm was bombed. He didn't own a pair of shoes until he was 12. Now, he is worth an estimated $3 billion.

    Asked if he would personally organise and bankroll the bold venture, the racing magnate said: "Yes, I definitely will.

    "I have the support of one international airline that would be prepared to sponsor the whole thing.

    "It's fine to take another team to Brisbane or New Zealand, but this would be a bigger [opportunity], the benefits are there for both competitions.

    "When you want to grow, you can't always grow within your existing products, you have to introduce something new.

    "Some people might be worried about taking the shine away from their competition but this is a genuine way to grow rugby league internationally."


    - If granted a licence, it would compete against existing NRL teams.

    - The English side would comprise players born and bred in Britain and would comply with the NRL's salary cap restraints.

    - It would play all its away games in a block during a three-month stint in Australia.

    - NRL teams travelling to Britain would be given a bye to counteract travel fatigue and aid recovery.

    - Some fixtures could be played in locations such as Dubai or Las Vegas to make rugby league grow internationally.


Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Jan 25, 2015.

    1. globaleagle

      globaleagle Je saisis mon chapeau. Staff Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

      +13,342 /117
      • Like Like x 1
      • Eagles2nv

        Eagles2nv Sea you in the finals 2017 Tipping Competitor

        +2,103 /49
        No thanks. Travelling to england would kill the clubs. The poms would have a crazy home ad advantage

        While the English club conviently gets a 3 month stint here, plenty of time to get use to playing.

        How about we worry about growing to game locally before we worry about england.
        • Like Like x 1
        • Ramrod

          Ramrod Well-Known Member

          +433 /2
          It's like a bad dream.
          Not quite a nightmare, but still pretty sucky.

          Playing our Winter game in Dubai and Vegas in the Northern Hemisphere.

          Dubai - Summer in the Desert?? Do we really want to risk a team of players in an unstable region? NO thanks.
          Vegas - I've been there and it's HOT as hell. OK to promote Origin but not regular club matches.

          Too far from UK. Too much disruptions.
          It's a bad idea.
          • Like Like x 1
          • Budgewoi Eagle

            Budgewoi Eagle In for the long haul. Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor 2017 Tipping Competitor

            +5,819 /82
            Tell him he's dreamin.
            • Like Like x 2
            • ManlyArmy

              ManlyArmy Well-Known Member

              +997 /26
              Koukash is one of those blokes I wouldn't trust in a room by himself some lube and tubing.
            • mozgrame

              mozgrame Well-Known Member

              +5,131 /51
              And I thought Perth was far enough...
            • MadMarcus

              MadMarcus Local Lunatic 2017 Tipping Competitor

              +8,379 /74
              Fixed your typo
            • mozgrame

              mozgrame Well-Known Member

              +5,131 /51
              And I thought Penrith wasn't far enough...

              There, finally got it!
            • mjb136

              mjb136 MWSE fanatic Premium Member

              +1,544 /34
              Logistically impossible. Won't happen, this koukash bloke is a bit of a nutter.
            • mozgrame

              mozgrame Well-Known Member

              +5,131 /51
              A kook ass?
              • Like Like x 1
              • Peter C

                Peter C Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                +1,207 /26
                Absolutely ridiculous idea, but knowing the NRL Commission, they will welcome it with open arms.
              • MadMarcus

                MadMarcus Local Lunatic 2017 Tipping Competitor

                +8,379 /74
                According to Rothfield the new team has looked far and wide for recruits and has compiled a lengthy list of targets: Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Foz, DCE, Gutherson, Hiku, Buhrer, JSL, the Turbos and Ballin...
                • Like Like x 2
                • Shoe1

                  Shoe1 Well-Known Member

                  +7,210 /106
                  He'd be better off improving the game in the north of England. Get it thriving again.

                  Playing club games in Vegas or the middle east is an absurd notion.

                  Vegas in midyear is very hot. It is cold in December, but that's not the league season.

                  Gulf state people don't even show up to watch cricket. Women can't attend sport in some of those countries either.
                • Daddycool08

                  Daddycool08 Well-Known Member

                  +372 /4
                  This may not be feasible. But I give the guy credit for at least coming up with the idea.

                  Maybe the NRL could offer him the Western "Reds" franchise. A bit closer to UK.
                • TagMonster

                  TagMonster Well-Known Member

                  +697 /50
                  Why is St George and Brisbane going with Souths to the World Club Challenge. Isn't it meant to be the top teams from each comp? St George didn't even make the eight (11th actually) and Brisbane scraped into the eight on for and against and had the cowboys drop 32 points on them in the finals.
                • Gib the Pom

                  Gib the Pom Active Member

                  +194 /2
                  This guy just loves kicking up a fuss with wacky ideas. Does it all the time in the Super League. I like his enthusiasm for change, it is needed desperately in England, but part of me thinks he does it for his own personal gain as a brand with his club Salford than a genuine love of the game.

                  As for this idea in particular, I don't think any English Club would want this. You cannot see the top quality players from our clubs wanting to leave for many their home town club to join this when realisitically they won't want to get a pasting week in week out and lose all chance of winning anything.

                  He seems to have this 'build it and they will come' attitude. Sorry but there is so much wrong with this idea practically and logically.

                  The bottom line is, what the hell would be the point? Isn't this why we have international rugby?
                • DanWRL

                  DanWRL New Member

                  +2 /0
                  You have to admire the blokes ambition really, as unrealistic and downright crazy as it may sound. He had high hopes of turning Salford into a great side from a sh!t side overnight. Alas they are still sh!t!
                • rifraff

                  rifraff Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                  +799 /21
                  Who would have thought that a team from NZ would join an Australian competition. PNG in a competition in QLD with aspirations to join the NRL.An expanded world club challenge. A long way away, but maybe one day...

                  And if it wasn't for Salford, I wouldn't have heard this.

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