Rugby League


Super League restructuring plans a step backwards?

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The last time the Super League was restructured, Celtic Crusaders were the third non-English team to join the division as they acquired a license in the new licensing system that was introduced at the time.

In my opinion, the licensing system was very good and probably the best long-term option for all of the clubs in the top two tiers of rugby league.

This system allowed clubs to develop on and off the field, with such areas as playing staff, financial/revenue income and also youth development which would aid the game as a whole in bringing new stars into rugby league throughout the country and even Wales and France.

The idea of the licensing system was to fulfil the RFL's ambitions of expanding the game nationally and abroad (France) and I believe that removing this system now whilst it hasn't reached its fruition has earned the RFL a lot of criticism due to their constant 'chopping and changing' of the English games model. 

Anyway, now that the RFL are changing model again, will this have a detrimental affect for clubs that are in the bottom-half of the Super League or ones that are challenging for a place in the top flight?

Clubs in these positions could spend a lot of money on their playing staff to ensure on-pitch success rather than looking to the future for bringing players through. This would have a very bad effect on the game. Although the idea of promotion/relegation can be very exciting and can bring the competitive side of the rugby league into full-flow, it can also bring out the ugly side on the financial scale for clubs and could lead to disaster for them and the future development of stars.

Furthermore, the Kingston Press Championship appears to lack depth in 'Super League club quality'. Looking at the division, you would only class the likes of Halifax, Featherstone, Leigh and Sheffield as any sort of real contenders for the top flight.

The sad thing is that there is a realisation that these clubs average 2,500 or below in their home attendances which would not be sustainable for the Super League unless their attendances improve and, personally, I feel that Halifax would be the only club to fulfil attendance needs whilst the others would need to improve drastically on their community work to build up attendances.

Overall, I think that the RFL will need to decide on what option they're going to choose for the future of the English game and simply stick with it.

If the hierarchy keep on 'chopping and changing', things will not develop and could possibly get worse for the future of the game. You don't see other sports changing their systems and restructure hardly ever - certainly not every five or so years.

So I think that the RFL need too think about this decision and make the correct call because this decision will be very important for them and English rugby league as a whole.


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