This is our big chance, says Keighley Cougars chief of Super League restructuring

Gary Fawcett is excited about what the future holds in store for the Cougars

Gary Fawcett is excited about what the future holds in store for the Cougars

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Bulls Reporter

Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett believes restoring promotion to Super League gives the club the chance to ‘build something special for Keighley’.

Fawcett has been a long-time advocate of scrapping the much-maligned licensing system in favour of automatic promotion and relegation to and from the game’s top flight.

And last week’s Super League vote in favour of such a move paved the way for a radical shake-up in the domestic game.

Fawcett said: “At one level the new structure will provide the opportunity to lay to rest the acute disappointment many felt, and still feel, in Keighley when the enormous level of expectation and effort was crushed by the decision not to allow the Cougars into Super League in 1995.

“On another level, looking into the future, the new Super League structure provides the opportunity to build something special for Keighley and the surrounding area.”

Super League clubs have given the go-ahead for a convoluted new format in which two 12-team divisions will be split into three of eight after 23 rounds to play off for the rest of the season.

The first year of this new format would be 2015, with the RFL board of directors set to ratify the change this week.

While the top eight jostle for positions ahead of a top-four play-off culminating in the Grand Final, the bottom four will join the top four teams from the Championship in a middle tier which will determine the make-up of Super League for the 2016 season.

Three teams will qualify automatically for the elite division, with the fourth and fifth clubs set to play off in a winner-takes-all clash for the 12th spot in Super League.

Fawcett, who is at the forefront of plans to undertake a £5 million scheme to redevelop Cougar Park, has always made clear his long-term ambition to see Keighley reach Super League.

He said: “It will be very hard work, and in some ways you have to be careful what you wish for, but all of us at the Cougars want to build a legacy that puts pride back into Keighley.

“We have the opportunity now to create some real excitement and create an economic hub in Keighley that will help develop the area through the development of the stadium and Super League level income.”

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