THIS W OOD SURELY HAVE TO BE LEAGUE’S GREATEST GIG
NIGEL Wood is the boss of the English rugby league on a salary of $536,000 a year.
Not a bad earn for running what is a minor sport in the UK and travelling the world in his other job as chairman of the International Rugby League Federation.
Wood has flown to Australia — business class of course — for the World Cup. That’s all fair enough.
However, we were surprised to learn he flew himself to the Philippines last week for a holiday.
One would think he’d be on the ground in Australia doing World Cup business especially considering the shocking performances of Wales and Scotland, the countries he is in charge of in England. It gets worse. Wood is about to step down as chairman of the IRLF to become chief executive of the same body on a pay packet similar to his UK Super League salary.
This paves the way for our other travel-loving official, Australia’s retiring independent commission boss John Grant, to become the new chairman of the international federation.
It’s a farewell “gift” from the independent commission when Grant steps down in February.
With Grant in charge, rugby league has gone backwards in Australia over the past five years in attendances, TV ratings, participation numbers and all areas of finance.
Crowds and player registrations have gone backwards under Wood’s watch in the UK, too.
The game is going so bad in the UK, there was a vote of noconfidence in Wood on change.com.
More than 5000 fans have voted.
Now these two are about to run the international game and carve up a profit of close to $10 million from the World Cup. It’s scary.
Wood sent me the following text from the Philippines to explain his absence.
“I have taken a couple of days annual leave to split up what is a near 7-week, 40+ day commitment to the tournament, which I believe is neither unreasonable nor exceptional. I’m already looking forward to the PNG v USA game this weekend followed by what should be compelling quarter-finals, together with the Women’s World Cup.”