Was the rugby union split in 1895?

Updated: 10/20/2022
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14y ago

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It all comes down to money, as most things in sport do. Rugby was supposed to be an amateur game with nobody earning money from playing. Some of the clubs, more likely to be in the north of England where teams were generally made up of men from the mines or the mills which predominated, wanted to compensate their players as they had to take time off work in order to play. If they didn't work, they didn't earn, so the clubs wanted to make up their 'broken time' as it was known.

The rugby authorities didn't take kindly to that as it went against the amateur ethos and a number of clubs were put on notice to stop compensating players or be thrown out. A number of these clubs organised themselves and decided to go it alone following a meeting on August 29 1895 at the George Hotel in Huddersfield. They formed the Northern Union and the game evolved over the years to become Rugby League.

Many of the differences between union and League emerged down the years, normally down to League clubs wanting to keep costs under control and keep the entertainment level up to ensure paying spectators would keep paying their money to come and watch. The reduction to 13 players, for example, was one measure which kept costs down.

And all that has ended up where we are now with two very different, if superficially similar games.

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Q: Was the rugby union split in 1895?
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