Friday, April 23, 2010

And the word for today is "rort"

When I migrated from England to Australia, language wasn't a great barrier. However there are few words that Australians have added to the language which I'd never heard before, and "rort" is one of them.

Basically it means cheating. Sometimes by breaking the rules, sometimes by bending them and sometimes just doing something that was never even covered by rules. If someone thinks it is unfair, they'll describe it as a rort. Jake on AppsLab recently posted about someone rorting FourSquare.

The rort in the news down here is about Salary Caps. Salary Caps are in place in the National Rugby League (NRL), Aussie Rules Football and A-League Soccer competitions (and probably other places too).

The idea is to stop someone with deep pockets taking control of a club, shelling out big dollars for the best players and continually winning the competition. This is supposed to reduce the pressure on clubs with less financial resources. Needless to say, someone rorted the system. Actually, it is quite likely that several clubs have rorted or are currently rorting the system.

The Melbourne Storm one got caught big-time (with both sets of books), and the ruling body has withdrawn the premiership titles it 'won' over the past few years. Then it removed all the competition points it has won this season. Then it said that, even if it wins every remaining match of the season, it still won't get a single point and won't get into the Finals, so they might as well give up and stay home. If they had a sand-castle, then someone probably would have been sent to kick it down and jump on top of it. They don't have the concept of relegation here, and besides the club is already based in Melbourne which is as about close as you can get. That's a joke folks. It counts as "Sydney/Melbourne" rivalry. And of course, we can be assured that the punishment was appropriate to the crime and there's no hint of vengenance over the fact that this is the only NRL club in Melbourne, with half a dozen in Sydney, and they've made the last four Grand Finals, with three minor premierships and two premierships (plus victory over Leeds in the World Club Challenge).

When you get conflicting aims, you are going to get rorts. The salary cap rules were put there to promote an even playing field, but the aim for the individual teams is to win, to put the balance in their favour.

Some systems are just obvious targets for rorts. A long time ago I worked for a firm that developed software for another company. It got paid more for support than development, on the grounds that support was less planned and might have peaks and troughs in demand, possibly out of hours. But when you are going to pay a supplier more for fixing problems AFTER delivery than BEFORE... Well you can see the temptation.


Noons said...

Aye! Too true....

Seeya today at the Sydney meet-up?

Jake said...

Nice. Sounds very cool, esp w epic in front, e.g. the dude executed an epic rort.