a The development of rugby (a) The Rugby Football Union was founded in 1871 on a strictly amateur…

a The development of rugby (a) The Rugby Football Union was founded in 1871 on a strictly amateur basis. In 1893 the Union received reports that a Yorkshire Club had made a financial offer to induce a player to leave another club and join them. Payment to cover broken time pay that was lost through being absent from work in order to play rugby was not unknown. The Union was warned that the chief clubs in Lancashire and Yorkshire would react by breaking away, no insignificant threat as many of the national team came from these clubs. The particular club was suspended. In August 1895, 22

a The development of rugby (a) The Rugby Football Union was founded in 1871 on a strictly amateur basis. In 1893 the Union received reports that a Yorkshire Club had made a financial offer to induce a player to leave another club and join them. Payment to cover broken time pay that was lost through being absent from work in order to play rugby was not unknown. The Union was warned that the chief clubs in Lancashire and Yorkshire would react by breaking away, no insignificant threat as many of the national team came from these clubs. The particular club was suspended. In August 1895, 22 clubs made the threatened break and formed the splinter Northern Union. Within two years a total of 80 clubs were members of the Northern Union. In 1922 the Northern Union changed its name to the Rugby Football League. As an entity quite separate from the Rugby Football Union, the Northern Union was responsible for the laws of the game its members played. In the early days a number of changes were made, including the reduction in the number of players in a team from 15 to 13. Thus began a clear divide between the amateur Union and the professional League. As the League game quickly became distinct from Union, it required an amateur base from which to draw its professional players. However, control of Rugby League remained completely in the hands of the professional clubs. In 1973 the amateur League clubs, fed up with lack of democracy, formed the British Amateur Rugby League Association, a move that initially was contested vigorously but unsuccessfully by the League. Within a few years the League relented, giving the amateur League Association its blessing. Discussion questions 1 Why do you think the Northern clubs were willing to force their case through? 2 Why do you think the League introduced new rules of play?

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