AMNRL Folds: Doubts Raised About Governance of League in USA

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usarl logo Rugby_Wrap_UpNEW YORK, NY: In England, there is a phrase called “Sod’s Law,” which in brief means if you prepare for one thing to happen, you can guarantee the exact opposite will. For example, if you take an umbrella with you to work it won’t rain; if you don’t it will chuck it down.


It is unsurprising then that just a few short months after I wrote an article debating the strengths of U.S. Rugby League, it appears the AMNRL (AMerican National Rugby League) has gone into meltdown. The AMNRL is the official governing body of Rugby League in the U.S.A., however, its rival body – the USARL (United States of America Rugby League) – contains the vast majority of American Rugby League teams.

The N.Y Raiders, one of the major teams in the AMNRL have decided to “declare their neutrality” from all governing boards. To say this is a blow to the authority of the AMNRL is an understatement, for one club to leave such a fragile alliance could be the death knell for this particular version of rugby league government. The truth is that you can’t have two governing bodies for a sport within one country, and to do so pulls loyalties both ways and makes life nearly impossible for the players, who, ultimately, are the ones who matter.

New_york_raiders_amnrl2010Interestingly enough, I had a conversation with a source that is close to the AMNRL organization as a player. What he told me was a surprise to say the least. Apparently there is some form of draft, whereby the people who run the league distribute new players, who tend to come over from Australia and occasionally Europe. No official draft, simply a case of Okay, let’s put him there. Now, whilst this source is exceptionally reliable, his comments should be taken with a pinch of salt – as he may well have been a bit bitter that his team did not get the best players. This means that in some cases the best players can end up at the dominant teams… hardly a fair system. Sounds like it might be more reliable for the AMNRL to pull some names out of a hat? As the N.Y Raiders statement goes on to say, they want transparency. It would appear that the AMNRL is not conducting business quite as clearly as some of their affiliate clubs would like.

ustomahawksThe resulting damage of this, is considerably more far reaching than simply one club leaving a league; after an exceptional World Cup, the USA Tomahawks should be receiving as much support as possible. Instead, one of the organizations who run the sport is sinking into a mire of recriminations, while hemorrhaging confidence. World Cup qualifiers are just around the corner and unity is absolutely critical.

Happier Rugby League days in the USA:

The truth is that this whole problem could and should have been stopped at birth. The USARL and the AMNRL should never have existed. There should have been one single governing body, as mentioned at the top of this article. For one team to leave a league is a huge risk to take and begs the question:
What kind of ship is the AMNRL running that one of their leading teams would run the risk of censure by quitting the league?

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About Jamie Loyd 30 Articles
Jamie Loyd hails from London but has traveled the globe playing, watching and covering rugby - especially Rugby League. He's quick-witted, smart and has exceptional elbows.