I have sat on this article I was writing for a while and adding to it, hoping to publish it, I thought for a while that I was wrong in my thinking, but over the past few weeks, I feel I was right all along.
Steven Tidball | Panther Pride
PVL | Midjourney (AI Generated)
In a recent series of developments, Peter V’Landys, the chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC), has come under public scrutiny for a range of decisions and comments that have raised questions about the direction and integrity of the ARLC under his leadership.
V’Landys faced criticism following his appearance on a radio show where he labeled the New Zealand Kiwis as “losers,” despite their notable victory in the Pacific Cup and a previous global number one ranking. This remark, which V’Landys made in jest, was not well-received, particularly given his influential role in the ARLC and the Kiwis’ evident disapproval of the comment.
Under V’Landys’ stewardship, the ARLC has embarked on an aggressive real estate investment strategy. This was highlighted by the recent $600 million offer to acquire a Sunshine Coast Hotel, expanding the ARLC’s burgeoning property portfolio. This move has garnered criticism, especially considering the ongoing struggles of the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) to secure a modest increase in pay and benefits for players.
The NRL’s venture into Las Vegas, ostensibly aimed at popularizing the sport in the United States, has been viewed skeptically. Critics, including the author, suggest that the true motive behind choosing Las Vegas as a venue is to tap into and expand the gambling market, a sector where V’Landys, who also serves as the Chief Executive of Racing NSW, has shown significant interest. This expansion into gambling is seen as a potential departure from the traditional values and interests of Rugby League.
V’Landys’ decision to slash funding for the NSW Rugby League in 2022 has been another point of contention. This action is perceived as detrimental to the development of clubs, competitions, and junior talent in New South Wales, with critics arguing that it priorities real estate investments and rapid expansion over the grassroots development of the sport. Along with aggressive expansion strategies could have long term issues, reminiscent of the problematic rapid expansion strategies of the ARL in the 1990s, which had long-term negative consequences for the league.
The article concludes with a reflection on the long-term implications of V’Landys’ decisions for the future of Rugby League. It suggests that while V’Landys aims to secure the sport’s future, there is growing concern among fans and stakeholders about whether his vision aligns with the broader interests of the sport. A reassessment of V’Landys’ approach might be necessary to ensure the sustained health and integrity of Rugby League.
NOTE: This article is the opinion of the author, and does not represent the views of the Panther Pride website, nor the Penrith Panthers club.