Gosper faces angry backlash
REACTION: Look up the newly proposed World League in rugby on Twitter and the motherlode of comments will be severely critical.
This is so apparent that any positive comments by fans about the new 12-team league are almost impossible to find amongst the plethora of censure. There are a number of reasons for this, which range from player welfare, to the disregard of Tier Two nations, to the fact that this is just a scheme to make money.
In light of this criticism, World Rugby’s CEO Brett Gosper took to Twitter to say that fan research had been carried out, and they were “resoundingly positive about [the] concept”.
Very few fans believed Gosper, and demanded that this research is published:
Questions have been raised as to who these fans are that support this new proposal, as they will not be members of Tier Two countries, rather the commercial backers of this new deal.
Furthermore, it is unclear as to what these fans were asked, as very few people believe that anyone would support a system like this.
Some have highlighted that the “major broadcast markets”, probably involve the USA and Japan, who are much richer and provide a much more lucrative prospect than Pacific Island teams or some European countries. This is why those two nations have been involved in this new league, in spite of Fiji being above both of them in the world rankings.
The general feeling is that this was something that may have started out as a good idea, and fans may have been proposed a question that seemed desirable for the globalisation of the international game. However, it now looks as though it will be wildly different from what any fan wanted, and it is a competition that will be tailored to the 12 wealthiest teams rather than the 12 best.
Many fans also raised the lingering questions to Gosper that have not been resolved. One main topic is the future of the Lions tour and how that is compatible with this new league. This is just one of many questions that are emerging in the wake of this news being announced.
Importantly, a huge number of fans reiterated to the CEO that they do not know a single person that is in favour of this new project, insisting how unpopular it will be.
Very rarely has a new proposal been wholly criticised like this by fans, but this disapproval looks like it will continue to flood in.