Super League set for big changes

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Wigan celebrate victory in last season’s Super League Grand Final Wigan celebrate victory in last season’s Super League Grand Final

Super League clubs have given the go-ahead for a radical overhaul of domestic rugby league.

Representatives of the 14 current Super League clubs voted at a meeting in St Helens to cut the division to 12 at the end of the 2014 season.

This ratifies an earlier decision to scrap the much-maligned licensing system in favour of a return to automatic promotion and relegation.

The clubs also agreed to implement a convoluted proposal from the Rugby Football League which would see two divisions of 12 teams divide into three of eight two-thirds of the way through the 2015 season.

The top eight in Super League will then play off as normal for a place in the Grand Final, with the bottom four joining the top four from the Championship to play each other for the right to compete in the top flight in 2016.

Today’s decision, at a meeting chaired by RFL chairman Brian Barwick, brings to an end months of uncertainty and bitter wrangling, although it will need to be ratified by the RFL board of directors next week.

Barwick, who is also chairman of Super League (Europe), said: “I would like to thank the clubs for their contribution to what was a very fruitful and positive meeting.

“The clubs were unanimous in their view that Super League should become a 12-team competition from 2015 and that there should be meaningful movement between Super League and the Championships.

“There was a full and frank debate about the competition structures and a commitment to support the proposed format.

“The Super League clubs’ decision will now go before the RFL’s independent board of directors for ratification next week.”

The League say full details of the new structure will be announced later this month but news of the agreement will come as a big relief to all officials in the game, with the 2014 season kicking off in just three weeks’ time.

The RFL were forced to put their proposals on the back-burner in October when six Super League clubs, led by Wigan’s Ian Lenagan, walked out of a meeting, preventing a vote from being taken.

The so-called rebels were angry over plans to increase the Championship clubs’ allocation of funds from the Sky television deal and called for a greater say in the governance of the game.

The 14 Super League clubs met to discuss governance on Tuesday but the meeting broke up without any agreement and they are set to reconvene later this month.

The RFL proposals already had the backing of the Championship clubs, even though under the new format four of them will be relegated to Championship One at the end of this season to create a 12-team division.

Comments (5)

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11:43pm Fri 17 Jan 14

bradfordbronco says...

oh joy back to the traditional yo-yo system that we got rid of a few years ago BECAUSE IT DIDNT WORK. You can't have promotion and relegation between a full time league and a part time league. Clubs just overspend on short term aussie players coming to the end of their careers instead of investing in juniors. The only clubs able to offer players long term deals are the top 6 or 7 who will get all the decent players everyone else has to scrap around for whats left and overspend to avoid the drop. If we thought clubs had money problems before we're in for a rough ride now.

At least under licensing we saw clubs like Catalans, Widnes even Huddersfield being given time to develop and establish themselves. What will happen is that a team promoted will have to get rid of the part time players and replace them with a load of journeymen on 1 year deals then replace them all again at the end of the season when they've been relegated.

The present system isn't perfect but surely the way forward is to copy the NRL and INCREASE the number of teams NOT decrease it. We need teams like Featherstone, Halifax, Sheffield, Cumbria etc to step up to Super League standards and let the sport grow. We seem to be taking a backwards step because the RFL can't manage the game properly and attract major sponsorship. What a shame after the successful World Cup that Super League is now retracting back into its shell instead of moving forward.

The bulls problems weren't caused by the present system, if anything they would have been worse if not for the licensing system. I predict even more clubs going to the wall chasing a place in the top flight. Junior players wont get time to develop and the progress we've made at international level will be lost
oh joy back to the traditional yo-yo system that we got rid of a few years ago BECAUSE IT DIDNT WORK. You can't have promotion and relegation between a full time league and a part time league. Clubs just overspend on short term aussie players coming to the end of their careers instead of investing in juniors. The only clubs able to offer players long term deals are the top 6 or 7 who will get all the decent players everyone else has to scrap around for whats left and overspend to avoid the drop. If we thought clubs had money problems before we're in for a rough ride now. At least under licensing we saw clubs like Catalans, Widnes even Huddersfield being given time to develop and establish themselves. What will happen is that a team promoted will have to get rid of the part time players and replace them with a load of journeymen on 1 year deals then replace them all again at the end of the season when they've been relegated. The present system isn't perfect but surely the way forward is to copy the NRL and INCREASE the number of teams NOT decrease it. We need teams like Featherstone, Halifax, Sheffield, Cumbria etc to step up to Super League standards and let the sport grow. We seem to be taking a backwards step because the RFL can't manage the game properly and attract major sponsorship. What a shame after the successful World Cup that Super League is now retracting back into its shell instead of moving forward. The bulls problems weren't caused by the present system, if anything they would have been worse if not for the licensing system. I predict even more clubs going to the wall chasing a place in the top flight. Junior players wont get time to develop and the progress we've made at international level will be lost bradfordbronco

12:34am Sat 18 Jan 14

portugalbull says...

This is not a return to Promotion/Relegation
, so don't be fooled. The bottom 4 SL teams will be the top of the league formed by them and the top of Championship therefore retain their SL status. Maybe there can be freak results but not consistent enough to cause a SL team to be relegated.
The Scottish Football tried this formula some time ago and the supporters voted with their feet and it was dropped.
A better system would be bottom SL replaced by top championship team, then 2nd bottom SL team as number 8 in Championship playoff. Winner goes into SL following year. That way genuine promotion of at least one club.
This is not a return to Promotion/Relegation , so don't be fooled. The bottom 4 SL teams will be the top of the league formed by them and the top of Championship therefore retain their SL status. Maybe there can be freak results but not consistent enough to cause a SL team to be relegated. The Scottish Football tried this formula some time ago and the supporters voted with their feet and it was dropped. A better system would be bottom SL replaced by top championship team, then 2nd bottom SL team as number 8 in Championship playoff. Winner goes into SL following year. That way genuine promotion of at least one club. portugalbull

7:48am Sat 18 Jan 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

something had to change because if a team was not going to make the playoffs then the remaining games at the end of the normal season were pointless (Bulls last game vs Giants).

I believe the straight top Championship team/Bottom SL team swap would have been a simpler option and you could have even had a play off between 2nd top and 2nd bottom if needed.
something had to change because if a team was not going to make the playoffs then the remaining games at the end of the normal season were pointless (Bulls last game vs Giants). I believe the straight top Championship team/Bottom SL team swap would have been a simpler option and you could have even had a play off between 2nd top and 2nd bottom if needed. fedupwiththeBS

8:50am Sat 18 Jan 14

bradfordbronco says...

There's certainly a lot of detail to look at. We prob wont know how it works until we've tried it. My biggest concern is that it removes the stability clubs have at present and they have been able to plan their financial structures. I'm not for blocking teams coming into Super League but the teams that get promoted need time to prepare and budget for it.

I think the new structure will make the top six or seven clubs stronger because they will be the ones able to offer long terms deals and stability to players and sponsors therefore they will get the best players all the other clubs will only be able to plan one year in advance. Will it also affect season ticket sales if you might be playing lower level football at the end of season?

Most sports in the world DONT have promotion and relegation and they seem to do ok ie NRL, NFL, Ice hockey, Aussie rules, Baseball, Basketball, Indian cricket.
There's certainly a lot of detail to look at. We prob wont know how it works until we've tried it. My biggest concern is that it removes the stability clubs have at present and they have been able to plan their financial structures. I'm not for blocking teams coming into Super League but the teams that get promoted need time to prepare and budget for it. I think the new structure will make the top six or seven clubs stronger because they will be the ones able to offer long terms deals and stability to players and sponsors therefore they will get the best players all the other clubs will only be able to plan one year in advance. Will it also affect season ticket sales if you might be playing lower level football at the end of season? Most sports in the world DONT have promotion and relegation and they seem to do ok ie NRL, NFL, Ice hockey, Aussie rules, Baseball, Basketball, Indian cricket. bradfordbronco

11:43am Sat 18 Jan 14

audal says...

If all 24 clubs received equal amounts (£s) then we could proceed with a proper competition again.
If all 24 clubs received equal amounts (£s) then we could proceed with a proper competition again. audal

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