THE Rugby Football League took on the peculiar role of the Grinch who stole Christmas as they managed to act as spoilers to their own big launch.
Having stated that the 2013 fixtures for Super League would be revealed on Monday of this week, they strangely broke their own embargo on publishing dates by allowing clubs to put their opening fixtures on Twitter last Friday.
Apparently the RFL idea was that this tactic would ‘whet the appetite of fans’, instead all it did was alert fans to the fact that the fixtures were already available and leave a sense of frustration that they now had to wait over the weekend to find out the rest.
It was tantamount to a strict parent saying no presents under the tree could be touched until Christmas Day and then saying on December 21st ‘Go on then you can tear open the corner of each parcel so you half an idea of what you have got’.
However, we are talking the RFL here so merely queering the pitch – while shouting from the roof tops ‘There is no Santa!’ – was never going to be enough.
Come Monday morning rugby league fans were finally allowed to see the whole fixture list, a fair percentage of which they could probably have pieced together over the weekend had they been so inclined, only for changes to be made in some clubs fixtures within hours of the dates being published.
To keep my tenuous Christmas analogy going, this was like being given your presents along with the receipts and being told ‘you can get these changed if you like in a few hours time when the shops open for the sales’.
While the RFL admittedly are trying to increase interest in the game sometimes the upshot of the tactics they employ act as a huge irritant to many fans who would like a date set for fixtures to come out and, with Sky having already been consulted as to their needs, be fairly sure at least the first 10 rounds of matches are fixed so they can make their plans. Surely it’s not that much to ask?