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SBD Global/May 13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL Reportedly Joins Plan Aimed At Bringing Professional Rugby Union To U.S.
Published May 13, 2013
A 'TALL ORDER': In the GUARDIAN's Talking Sport blog, Dart wrote the scheme "is the brainchild" of U.S.-based promoters George Robertson and Michael Clements. They formed a company called RugbyLaw and "have been in negotiations with potential partners for months." Robertson and Clements believe that the "prudent, slow start" made by Major League Soccer since its formation in '96 "has doomed soccer to limited growth and appeal in the U.S." They feel that Americans "will only embrace a new competition if it is high-grade right from the start and that fans will not have the patience to wait a decade or more for a league to become credible, as was the case with MLS." In this view, the "planned six-team league in NFL stadiums along the East Coast needs to be privately-run." Governing bodies "lack the ambition, energy, international focus and business intelligence to expand leagues." To work, the RugbyLaw scheme "needs to find investors willing to sink tens of millions of dollars into the project." It "is a tall order but the involvement of the NFL could prove highly significant" (GUARDIAN, 5/11).