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Deal or no deal


Unaccountable?

By cardiffsteve
July 25 2014

Its possible that by the time you read this, RRW and the WRU will have signed a peace deal...

Its possible that by the time you read this, RRW and the WRU will have signed a peace deal.

 

The sides will have been photographed shaking hands and all will be well with the world. Or as well as it ever gets in Welsh rugby.

 

Its also possible that no deal will have been done. Again. There'll be a bit of anger and lots of frustration. Another few people will decide that everybody involved is a waste of time. The Welsh game will continue to be clouded with the infighting and negativity that seems to have overshadowed almost every season since the game went pro.

 

In any eventuality, of the various personalities involved in this tortuous affair, one name has been thrown around more than most. And you find yourself asking this question:

 

WHO EXACTLY IS ROGER LEWIS?

 

This should be quite an easy question to answer. Roger Lewis is a former musician who built a career in the music industry before becoming head of ITV in 2004. He then became chief executive of the WRU in 2007.

 

So, Roger Lewis is an employee of the WRU.

 

An employee of the WRU who also holds these other positions:

http://www.dgroup.co.uk/roger-lewis/ (D Group)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25005435 (South East Wales City Region)

http://www.racecoursemediagroup.com/directors/ (Race Course Media Group)

http://carbsdrupal.hosting.cf.ac.uk/...y-board?page=1 (International Advisory Board, Cardiff University)

http://www.iwa.org.uk/en/fellows (Institute of Welsh Affairs Fellow)

 

And, as an employee of the WRU, he makes on £337,000 a year. This up from £258,000 in 2008.

 

For such a generous increase, in addition to these other positions which I'm sure don't limit the time he has for the day job (oh, he also ran the “Yes for Wales” campaign in 2011) surely he must be doing sterling work?

 

I mean, it stands to reason that individuals at the WRU must be looking at the series of events we've witnessed over the past couple of years and are thinking “Yes. That man is worth every penny of the £337,000 we're giving him this year.”

 

If not, surely he would have been taken to task?

 

So is it therefore the case that everything we've witnessed up until this point has been part of the plan? A plan the board of the WRU are aware of and fully support?

 

I'd suggest that whatever the plan for Welsh rugby was or is (despite being asked more than once, Lewis has never come forward with a long term vision for the game...) that plan likely never involved two years of bitter struggle between the WRU and the professional sides with a world cup round the corner.

 

At this point, you might be thinking something like “I know your game sonny. You're trying to hang this all on the WRU. How do you know it isn't RRW that are causing all the problems?”

 

Well you see, the thing is, more than one media outlet has reported that a deal was recently virtually done. But the WRU then chose to change aspects of the deal after the event.

 

The Sunday Times even had the WRU agreeing that they'd “modified” the deal.

 

And this has been the pattern throughout the summer. Strong rumours emerge of a deal being imminent... then suddenly its no longer the case. On Wednesday evening this week we again had strong indications that a deal was about to be done. Then on Thursday evening.... well guess what?

 

Whether this is simply finickiness or a deliberate delaying tactic.... is the WRU really happy with such an important deal being handled in this way? And if they're not happy... don't the board realise that ROGER LEWIS IS AN EMPLOYEE? And that as an employee he can be called to task?

 

And so you find yourself asking the same question: “WHO IS ROGER LEWIS?” Why is he apparently unaccountable to anyone? What enables him to go about this bizarre business apparently unchallenged by anyone at the organisation which employs him?

 

Of course, you could be reading this thinking, “Yeah, but they did a deal. I'm looking at Roger Lewis smiling and shaking hands on tv. Its done.” And I genuinely hope thats the case.

 

But even if it is... we still need to ask questions about the way this has been handled. Why was such a tortuous process necessary? Theres no question that the reputation of the Welsh game has taken a hit. But more importantly, the credibility of the domestic game in Wales has taken a hit.

 

You cannot have a dispute like this go on overshadowing everything for so long without interest in the game being eroded. Deal or no deal.... can an individual really steer Welsh rugby into this fiasco and remain unaccountable?

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Deal or no deal
theArmsPark.co.uk (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 02:58
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Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 07:49
Roger gets away with it because:


1; He's "delivered" success on the international arena.

2; The WRU debt burden is significantly reduced. In fact it is way ahead of schedule.

3; He's an accomplished player of people.


The third is the vital one. Why? The first two are just smoke and mirrors.


Why do I say this? Well regarding the first one that is down to the players / coaches and many other factors coming together at the right time. Also the success is questionable. Wales has succeeded, at 6N level. Big deal!

Whilst we win this trophy what is happening to our competitor sides? Italy? Scotland? We let's be frank neither side is a serious player with Scotland close to disappearing down the abyss of rugby. Italy has show some signs of adding a new dimension to their game and may yet become a serious player.

The Irish Can't transfer a successful Provincial game into lasting success on the international front. I think their playing style does not transfer to the world arena.

France blow hot and cold and increasingly look a mess at international level with a domestic game based on short term, foreign driven, success

England? Well these guys have got it, nearly, right. The 6N is a means to an end. It is a stepping stone to the RWC. England win regularly against the SH giants. Granted they are not a consistent top division side and suffer too many troughs to go with the peaks but they really are Europe's top nation.

We crow over a 6 nations win England have their sights set far higher. True it is, limited, success and after years of abject failure it is to be welcomed. However, I venture the success we have had is despite and not because of Roger Lewis.

The, accelerated, debt reduction is just a huge mistake! The basic economics of life tell us this. Roger has achieved this reduction at a massive cost. The WRU has little (no) cash for the day today running of rugby in Wales. The result of this is that the WRU cannot properly recompense the RRW sides for international player release. Remember that the majority of the RRW budgets is money that belongs to Cardiff, Llanelli, Newport and the Ospreys IT IS NOT A HANDOUT! The money is appearance money / TV money etc they earn due to their taking part in the Pro 12 etc. Then their is the money that the clubs earn such as gate money etc. The WRU "Grant" is really money the WRU collects on behalf of the clubs and the "top up" payment to the clubs for player release etc.There is no hand out there. The WRU wants central contracts. The 4 clubs would like them two. But not on the wrong terms etc. Sadly we can't do it properly because we can't afford it. Yet the debt reduces way ahead of schedule WHY?

Well it does not make financial sense in today's financial world. When interest rates are at their current record low levels there is little sense in accelerating your debt repayments for the simple reason that the borrowing cost is so little. Fair enough to do so if you have plenty of spare cash around but the WRU does not have that. Were interest rates high then yes the case for accelerating your debt reduction makes more sense.

Of course Roger can point out a tangible figure. "we've been so good that we have cut out debt and resultant costs". Sadly this has only happened to the detriment of the Pro game in Wales. A game that is the poor relation in European rugby. The problem goes much further. The grass roots game is neglected at the same time. That is a story for another time though.

Roger is building his empire. Just as Uncle Peter tried with the stadium move. Roger will be gone soon (not soon enough) his knighthood sorted and a lucrative directorship of the next part of his CV. The lasting effect of his rain (and I use that spelling intentionally) will be seen to be a rain of the acid variety poisoning and killing of large parts of the game. Welsh rugby is in danger of ending up like welsh football. Our top players all playing abroad the domestic competition semi pro / amateur and as much of a laughing stock as the League of Wales.

Thanks for nothing Roger.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
Cardifflose (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 11:57
No deal, and contrast to media Wales not all the regions will need to sell players and or let staff go, well we don't that's allied care about

 
Re: Deal or no deal
Cardiffblues1 (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 14:22
I'm not renewing my season ticket and not buying Wales tickets. Fed up with the whole thing. Don't care anymore who is right or who is wrong just want it all to stop. For many years I've bought my season ticket and tickets to all Wales games. I've supported my club and my country.
I've sat in the shitty Cardiff City Stadium freezing my nuts off in a crowd I could have got in my back garden. I've watched performances so bad they should have paid me to turn up. I've suffered@#$%&players, crap coaches and@#$%&systems but I've turned up week in and week out.
I've gone to the Millennium and sat through the beer runners, the cowboy hats and even the god awful Friday night games in Autumn with the rubbish crowds and the cringe making Mexican waves in the middle of play.
I've supported the lads both club and country. Cheered when they have won and tried to take the positives when they have lost.
Last year alone I spent over £1,000 on rugby and now I'm done. I'm sick of the nonsense, the egos on both sides, the dramatic flouncing off from the negotiations and the ridiculous statements from both sides.
I will take my hard earned £1,000 and buy myself a nice holiday in a country where they don't play rugby.
So well done Roger and well done the Cardiff Blues and the RRW you have done what Gareth Jenkins as Wales coach and Sam Norton Knight couldn't make me do. You have made me give up.
No doubt both sides will still be squabbling when I am downing a few cold ones on a beach somewhere instead of watching rugby.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 16:25
That is a shame, although understandable. The shame is on a couple of fronts. You'velost your rugby and RRW, who whilst not perfect, are fighting to save the pro game in Wales. Fighting against the worst CEO in thechistory of the WRU.

I've never been a Peter Thomas fan but here he has my 100% backing. Sadly people walking away make the RRW's battle even harder to win.

As I said a shame but understandable.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
Cardifflose (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 18:44
It is the one season where I won't "have a go" at people for not buying as I do understand why, however trust me this won't go on for much longer, We are about to enter a season with arguably our best squad and a chairman who is once again willing to dip into his pocket (Anscombe), so stick it out for one more year and if in 12 months we are still in the same then to be honest I will join you in not renewing.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 20:59
Quote:
Cardifflose
It is the one season where I won't "have a go" at people for not buying as I do understand why, however trust me this won't go on for much longer, We are about to enter a season with arguably our best squad and a chairman who is once again willing to dip into his pocket (Anscombe), so stick it out for one more year and if in 12 months we are still in the same then to be honest I will join you in not renewing.

Some good stuff there!

 
Re: Deal or no deal
southcoast5 (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 21:52
When Lewis was first appointed I'm advised by sources close to the WRU that he won the job against some feeble competition and on his message that Welsh rugby was a closely knit family - his words- and while there were serious legal and structural fault lines a practically based, long term non-confrontational approach would succeed in drawing the parties together.

Pickering backed him with the proviso that the priority must be the health of the WRU.

All went OK until the benefactors hit the sand - for various reasons- and began to realise that they were being hung out to dry by Lewis and critically his paymaster Pickering. Lewis has never had a strategy or vision for the game in Wales. He's a short term tactician with a pretty thin CV prior to his current role but a well coached persona in front of the camera until you realise that he says nothing of any substance.

When you look at the calibre of the men who run the game in England and compare them to what we have in Wales you really have to weep....but then you look at our schools and hospitals and most else that goes on in this principality to realise that it's all par for the course.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
capsgon (IP Logged)
25/07/2014 23:29
Southcoast5 - I was with you until the last part of your post - there's quite enough politics in Welsh rugby without bringing other stuff into it - you come over like "Call Me Dave" in disguise



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2014:07:25:23:32:31 by capsgon.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
26/07/2014 08:13
Despite not being in South Wales and getting his info at 2nd (3rd?) hand SC5 knows how bad our NHS is. He ignores the English situation. South Staffs anyone? Unless there are two Cardiff fans living on the south coast who hold very similar vies I guess this is the person who has spouted the same nonsense elsewhere admitting he gets his info from some "interesting" sources judging by one person he quotes. I am involved in monitoring the NHS in Wales and the actual feed back from patients is very good (certainly not perfect) and it compares well with England as a whole. But it is better to be selective with your data! Well it seems so anyway. As for education. Wales is doing worse than England but compare similar areas in England to Wales ie financial wore off areas in general and again the results are similar.

All that said, politics apart from rugby politics are not really relevant here.

More to the point here is the issue of the RFU still being run by the old farts. England pro rugby has managed to, in part, split from the RFU. so the comparison is not entirely true anyway. the RFU = WRU; old farts abound. The difference is that the pro game has been able to control its own destiny to a large degree. But that does not fit SC5's agenda

 
Re: Deal or no deal
wales606 (IP Logged)
26/07/2014 12:10
Watching the commonwealth games and it looks like a few of the player, including Gareth Davies have the RRW logo stuck over he WRU logo

 
Re: Deal or no deal
cardifflose (IP Logged)
26/07/2014 13:13
How brilliant would that be, its the Wales Commonwealth badge and looks like its been done bluetac!

 
Re: Deal or no deal
capsgon (IP Logged)
26/07/2014 13:43
Going up to C Games next week for athletics and contacted Team Wales via website, several times, to see how/ where to buy some supporters shirts etc.

Firstly got no reply but after further attempts at getting a response, I was finally told there were none I could buy!

How rubbish is that! And it seems from recent events, typical of the way the Welsh blazers are approaching this event.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
cardiffsteve (IP Logged)
26/07/2014 13:49
Quote:
Cardifflose
It is the one season where I won't "have a go" at people for not buying as I do understand why, however trust me this won't go on for much longer, We are about to enter a season with arguably our best squad and a chairman who is once again willing to dip into his pocket (Anscombe), so stick it out for one more year and if in 12 months we are still in the same then to be honest I will join you in not renewing.

Is good news. My concern would be whether any further signings are dependent on the cap being raised. And without a PA, will there be a cap?

My assumption is that removing or raising the cap actually helps the WRU. It might not be a good idea without an agreement first.

Afterall, the real starting gun for this is the WRU taking advantage of the regions previously being willing to spend their own money on top end welsh players they dont see.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2014:07:26:14:05:08 by cardiffsteve.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
26/07/2014 13:58
The cap is self imposed. It can be removed at any time.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
Bluepragmatist (IP Logged)
28/07/2014 11:24
I agree that raising the salary cap might aid the wru; the only reason that i can glean from the wru's stance apart fom bloodymindedness or incompetence woud be in culling one or more regions, by letting the more finacially challenged of them go to the wall. However, I believe that imposing a salary cap would be suicidal for all the region in that all regions benefit from winning games, punters wont pay to see@#$%&games and losing regions; so, to put it bluntly bums on seats get turnstiles et al moving. to qote peter thomas, albeit badly a salary cap for the whole squad of £3.5 million doesnt compete against a club who spend a similar ammount n their front row.
And no, before any correspondent thinks of criticising me; im not prepared to say which of our "Regions" would be classified by the wru as being financially challenged. i'll leave that to the wru, because its their stance NOT MINE. im just arguing against any salary cap-however voluntary it is, it would be suicidal.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
28/07/2014 12:30
We have a self imposed cap now. That is part of the battle with the WRU. It could be removed at any time by the clubs themselves.

Clearly all the regions are financially challenged. I think that, long term, we are in pretty good shape though.

YOu are so right about WINNING games. forget pandering to people with sill colour schemes, Offer good quality, winning rugby and people from Upper lower RCT Titans or whatever will come and stay. Offer gimmicky solutions and we might "win" them over for a short time.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
cardiffsteve (IP Logged)
28/07/2014 17:30
Quote:
Bluepragmatist
I agree that raising the salary cap might aid the wru; the only reason that i can glean from the wru's stance apart fom bloodymindedness or incompetence woud be in culling one or more regions, by letting the more finacially challenged of them go to the wall. However, I believe that imposing a salary cap would be suicidal for all the region in that all regions benefit from winning games, punters wont pay to see@#$%&games and losing regions; so, to put it bluntly bums on seats get turnstiles et al moving. to qote peter thomas, albeit badly a salary cap for the whole squad of £3.5 million doesnt compete against a club who spend a similar ammount n their front row.
And no, before any correspondent thinks of criticising me; im not prepared to say which of our "Regions" would be classified by the wru as being financially challenged. i'll leave that to the wru, because its their stance NOT MINE. im just arguing against any salary cap-however voluntary it is, it would be suicidal.

I think the game has changed between when the salary cap was brought in and the position RRW are in now.

Then, there was a need to make clear the gap between what central funding actually paid for and what a home based national squad actually cost.

I think the point's been made, even though it still might be going over a few heads.

Now, I think its probably come to a point where the cap does us more harm than the WRU.

I wonder if they regret announcing a salary cap rather than a slightly more complicated cap on salaries to be offered to national squad players.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
Bluepragmatist (IP Logged)
30/07/2014 11:59
Iagree wit ATTR and CardiffSteve, the salary cap that was voluntarily imposed by the 4 "Regions" was a tactic but not only did certain figures on the WRU not understand but it actually did the 4 regions harm. So, I would hope that it is not renewed for2014/15.
weve probobly got the strongest squad on paper that we have had for a few seasons and the potential with the new pitch to aactually earn more. so, let us not ruin all that by committing suicide with any restrictive salary cap.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
cardiffsteve (IP Logged)
30/07/2014 13:00
Oh, I think certain figures at the WRU probably understood perfectly well why the cap was introduced.

The fact that they reacted by doing nothing (unless refusing to negotiate and insisting the old deal continues is counted as doing something) speaks volumes.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
31/07/2014 11:53
A great article which has started some great debate.

Re: CardiffBlues1 - Don't give up on the regions. They are fighting the good fight. For too long, the WRU have squeezed the regions to within an inch of their existence. By all means boycott the WRU (as I myself have been doing) but I hope you will read all the above and reconsider. The Cardiff Blues need you now more than ever.

Admin of theArmsPark.co.uk,
Make Noise and You Will Be Heard!

http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/170/170_0_1264029860.jpg

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
31/07/2014 12:35
Well said Admin. The club, whilst far from perfect is NOT the guilty party here. Hit the WRU where it hurts.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
Bluepragmatist (IP Logged)
01/08/2014 13:09
ATTR you make a very good point in that althougn not being perfect, the blues or any region arent at fault. another excellent contribution you make is that cardifflues are now renting out hospitality boxes for meetings! excellent, another income stream.
w.r.t. wru and putative deal, the time has come now when someone in the rrw should conclude that its 01/08/14 and still no deal! therefore, i would argue that we should focus on the coming season, look for new finance; to me the wru will come scuttling when player release outside of the IRB window isnt guaranteed-let them think that anyway, we dont need to say that in so many words.
the point for the "Regions" is that they should switch focus to the new season but not to desist from negotiations, ust dont focusd on them anymore-unless, the rrw and wru are so close to agreeing that even roger lewis couldnt derail it; i know, ive just read what ive written and it sounds daft.

 
Re: Deal or no deal
ATTR (IP Logged)
01/08/2014 14:07
Well said. Not the agreeing bit but the move on and get on with it. The WRU will have to react if:

The 4th AI sees a side made up of WP players

Only statutory player release for the other games.

Warberton playing for Bedwas, Rhiwbina or whoever.

As far as the 4 pro clubs are concerned Funding from BT is making up the "player release money and the WRU can't refuse release of the GP12 money etc as that is money the collect on our behalf and it does nor belong to them. If they get shirty we can get the money paid direct and that will harm their cash flow! Time for the gloves to come off the idiots need to be exposed for what they are.

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