1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An episode of bigotry.,
This review is from: The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League (Paperback)
I had been meaning to get this book for a while but only managed to do it when I got my Kindle. I'd heard many reports about the book and knew what the theme of the book was about but nothing could prepare me for the sheer bloody-minded bigotry that the French rugby union used to defeat our sport.
Mr. Rylance creates a platform from which he portrays the main reason that the French took rugby league to their hearts and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the reason the games parted company in England. The brutal encounters in union were beginning to turn the fans against the sport and so a few men attempted to bring rugby league to France.
In the 20s this was not too dificult although they did meet with major problems of having stadia and other things denied them by the friends of the 15-a-side game.
Mike weaves a web of intrigue but in the main rugby league was not only accepted in France but it was growing by the month not the year.
Then we come to the war years where the Vichy government decides that professional sport is to be banned as bad for the youth of France, however the professional footballers were initially given a couple of years grace to get contracts worked out etc, but then completely forgot about it!
Before they magaed to ban rugby league it was about to match not only England's club standards but also the international standards of England and Australia!! However, after the war it proved very difficult to re-start and only now into another century are we seeing the advent of top-class rugby league in the form of Les Sang et Or, the Catalan Dragons in Super League. The crowds are growing and maybe in a few more years we may again see a top-class French rugby league international team?
This is a must read for any rugby league fan and I dare any of the rugby union fans to explain the actions of the French and English governing bodies for trying to get rid of our 13-a-side game.