Joined: 29 Sep 2007
|Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:53 pm Post subject: Team List Overhaul
|NRL Match-Fixing Scandal: Former Integrity Unit Boss Jim Doyle Calls For Team List Overhaul
Chief Rugby League Reporter
June 4, 2016
Cronulla go top of the ladder after downing Manly at home. Jamie Lyon's kicking proves the difference, while a late Sea Eagles try is disallowed.
New Zealand Warriors chief Jim Doyle has urged the NRL to revisit its protocols around team announcements, believing the risk of inside information being passed on for gambling purposes could be limited by overhauling the system.
Doyle was in charge of the NRL's integrity unit during his stint as the chief operating officer at Rugby League Central and oversaw a raft of new measures to protect the game's integrity. They included the limiting of the exotic markets that betting agencies were allowed to offer and an expansion of the game's registration scheme, which meant club directors and staffers were bound by the same code of conduct – and the same sanctions for breaking it – as the players.
The former New Zealand Rugby League boss was close to implementing another fundamental integrity change before taking the Warriors job. Doyle had proposed that the naming of football teams be delayed, initially by a day, as part of a strategy to ensure the team that runs onto the park is the same as that named earlier in the week. The initiative was put forward following concerns that information about team changes was being passed on to individuals to gain a betting advantage, a valuable commodity in the punting arena.
The NRL was poised to shift the naming of teams from Tuesday to Wednesday for the 2015 season, but the plan was aborted when Doyle took the Warriors job midway through 2014. It is understood one of the reasons for aborting the proposal was concerns the official match-day program, in Big League magazine, would be affected.
Doyle believes the league should reconsider the initiative and look to stagger the naming of teams, with a view to the side being named being the one that actually runs onto the arena.
"It's important from an integrity point of view not to put the code at risk where people can find out information and place bets," Doyle said.
"It's also important to the fans and members that when they look at the team [announced] they can watch that team and their favourite players play. You don't want to get there and then the team is changed.
"It's important to try to find a solution so that when you name your team, you name the team you anticipate to take the field unless there are special circumstances. That's pretty tough to do on a Tuesday."
As it stands, the NRL requires clubs to name their sides by 5pm on Tuesday, although there is no obligation for the players named to take their place. Coaches often attempt to keep key line-up changes a closely guarded secret, believing it gives them a competitive advantage.
There are no penalties for playing a vastly different team to that named, allowing coaches to shuffle line-ups, give injured players every chance to prove their fitness or blood rookies without the pressure of added scrutiny.
However, this heightens the risk of players and officials being tempted to provide information to underworld figures and provides a disadvantage to rank-and-file punters.
Doyle suggested staggering team announcements closer to the actual game times and sanctioning teams for changing their line-ups without a legitimate excuse.
"With the current schedule you have games on Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night – so you might not do it the same for every team," Doyle explained.
"If you've got a game on a Thursday night, the team can't be named on a Thursday.
"But if you've got a team playing on a Sunday or Monday night, why name the team on a Tuesday? I don't know if you need to name them all at the same time, surely there needs to be some delay.
"If you're playing on a Thursday night, you probably would still have to name your team on a Tuesday. But if it's Friday night, maybe it should be Wednesday. If Saturday, then maybe Thursday. If Sunday, then Friday.
"Unfortunately those weekly publications wouldn't have all the teams in it, but you can't run the game based on a weekly publication.
"And you would have to provide a 'please explain' around the circumstances that happened for you to require a change."