WE witnessed one of the strangest sights in sport this week, when new Super League CEO, Robert Elstone, was introduced to the media with his chairman Brian Barwick nowhere to be seen.

Now I’ve been around sport for a number of years and I know when CEO’s are rolled out, or indeed head coaches, the boss is there to introduce and set out why this person is the best thing since sliced bread. So where was Mr Barwick?

His invisibility speaks volumes for the political shenanigans that are going on at present, with Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan and St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus taking centre stage.

There was an associated photo doing the rounds with Saints, Wigan, Warrington and Salford present and Mr Elstone; a picture, as they say, paints a thousand words.

The RFL’s handling, and in particular Brian Barwick’s, has been nothing short of dedicational. There has been a constitutional crisis going on for some months, a political vacuum resulting in a grab for power by the few. I’m sure he is working furiously behind the scenes.

Last time I checked the RFL are the governing body for the sport, leading and directing the game, not a cohort of club owners! The RFL Board must not leave the field for some Super League clubs to attempt to simply walk off with the prize.

Now more than ever is the time for visible leadership from the top of the game. Brian Barwick and Ralph Rimmer have a clear opportunity to lead the charge at this crucial time. I’m sure that will now happen.

Before investing in the Bradford Bulls, Lowie (Graham Lowe) and I did our due diligence as you would expect. We were told by a number of people that they were the “fallen giant” of British rugby league.

The club certainly had a difficult recent history, which we hoped and thought we could correct over time. We were, however, mainly concerned with the state of the sport in the UK and in particular, the stability of its governance structures.

We needed to be sure that the sport was fair, open and sound. We have no problem with meritocracy; you rise and fall according to your own performance.

We were highly suspicious of potential closed shops, with access to Super League either denied, as with licensing, or as tokenistic as straight forward promotion and relegation, where the promoted club gets no time to assemble a squad before facing the inevitability of immediate relegation.

So governance stability and who got to make what decision was pretty fundamental.

It is interesting that Leeds, who in my view are the biggest and best run club in Super League, are having nothing do with the current control and resource grab. They have been positioned as a lone dissenting voice, 11-1. But what is the truth?

I have been reliably informed that when this was discussed by Super League clubs the vote was actually 7-5, with Salford, Widnes, Wakefield, Castleford and Leeds all rejecting straight one up; one down. And they would wouldn’t they?

One of the great positives in the 12 & 8’s system from a Super League perspective anyway is that no club has to be relegated, unless a Championship club gets past them. The Bradford Bulls know this better than anyone from 2015.

So if you were a struggling Super League club, why would you prefer straight up and down to a system where your destiny is determined by your own efforts in matches against the Championship contenders?

Once again it’s misleading misinformation emanating from a few. Wigan and St Helens are quite happy to seek to re-introduce automatic promotion and relegation to get rid of the perennial strugglers, which they all privately admit add nothing to the competition.

What we understand now is revealing. Super League of course does have the right to spend its money how it chooses.

If it wants to duplicate services with the RFL it can do it. If it wants to employ a CEO costing £400k per annum then fine. It doesn’t seem particularly smart but it’s their money so let them get on with it.

What Super League cannot do is dictate the structure and funding of the whole of the RFL’s competitions. Anything that impacts on the rest of the clubs, has to be dealt with and agreed by all of the games stakeholders.

Seems pretty fair and straight forward to me.

So the size of Super League, and the number of clubs participating, has implications for the viability of Championship and League One, so it’s pretty reasonable that we have a view; a significant voice.

How clubs qualify for Super League is a matter for us all; otherwise the existing Super League clubs could make it impossible for new and existing clubs to gain entry, a closed shop protecting some very poorly performing clubs.

That is why this week’s press conference was so alarming. A group of self-interested club owners trying to grab more power, control and influence so they can dictate who gets what in their sole and absolute opinion.

That is not what the Bradford Bulls and our colleague clubs in Championship and League One are going to stand back and wave through. The sport belongs to us all. Each and everyone one of us.

In my view, rugby league in this country is not big enough or strong enough to be divided or fractured. No one individual or club is bigger than the game of rugby league.

Turning to the Bulls, we continue to make solid progress as we approach the half way mark in the season; steady and sure as we approach Round 13.

There are some big games coming up in the next few weeks, games that could make or break our season. Trips to Cumbria are never straightforward. We know this from our Workington stumble, and Whitehaven are a proud and courageous club.

Adversity can bring out the best in people, and Whitehaven has had its own share of financial adversity and dramas in recent weeks.

I know the Bulls faithful will turn up in numbers, and put some hope into the endeavours of the hard-working group trying to stabilise Whitehaven. We wish them every success.

It won’t be long before we have the pleasure of entertaining Doncaster and of course the York City Knights here at Odsal, in what a friend described to me as League One’s Game of the Season. And I’m sure it will be just that.

Our opening game at York was a classic, with a great attendance and a thriller on the field. The return fixture on Sunday, July 22 should be all that and more.

We want a huge crowd creating a great atmosphere, where we have the chance to showcase to the rugby league world that rugby league in Bradford is alive, kicking and flourishing. Put the date in the diary.

We will be looking to make it a celebration day of all that is good about rugby league. Watch this space for more details, including the Doncaster clash.

In the meantime, brace yourselves for Whitehaven. See you at the Recreation Ground, Whitehaven, tomorrow at 3pm. #jointhestampede.