Rugby League

Super League to revert to 12 teams

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Super League clubs vote for change (©GettyImages)
Super League clubs vote for change (©GettyImages).

Super League clubs voted in favour of reducing England's top rugby league competition to 12 teams, abolishing the current franchising system and returning to a system of promotion and relegation last employed in 2009.

The abolition of the franchise system, which prevented clubs from being relegated, was deemed unsuitable for purpose due to the reduction in excitement it created by leaving many teams with nothing to play for.

The clubs finally agreed on a 12 team Super League, but other structural changes are still to be decided, such as whether to have two divisions of 12 format between the Super League and the Championship or split the league into three divisions of eight two thirds of the way into the season.

The restructuring process has drawn mixed reactions from eminent figures in British rugby league. 

Players such as Jon Wilkin, chairman of the Super League Players' Association, said: "Promotion and relegation is something associated with British sport. 

"Some clubs have a rich history and have been an integral part of the game, so it's good to have access back to the top flight.

"It's a positive step for the game, if tied up with a strong commercial plan."

However, some fear that the benefits of the franchising system have not been given enough time to flourish, such as Warrington coach Tony Smith, who believes that the positive work undertaken in youth development may be set back by change.

Talking to BBC Sport last month, Smith said: "We are starting to produce some half-backs, outside-backs, types of players that we have not produced for years and yet we change the system again.

"I'm over the innovative tag for rugby league. What about being stable, strong and consistent?"

The final decision on the format of Super League from 2015 is expected to be taken in August, when the clubs will reconvene for a general meeting.

 

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Topics:
Super League
Rugby League
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