Fax chairman Michael Steele has welcomed the announcement that Super League will feature 12 teams from the 2015 season after Rugby League’s elite clubs agreed to a key change to the structure of their competition.
At their Annual General Meeting in Bradford, the Super League clubs ruled out the option of reducing from 14 teams to 10 in 2015 and asked the RFL Executive to investigate two options around a 12-team competition.
One option involves a 12-team Super League running in tandem with a 12-team Championship which after 23 rounds split into three qualifying play-off groups, each comprising eight clubs.
The other option is for two divisions of 12 with a more traditional style of promotion and relegation between the two competitions.
The debate forms part of the consultation process around the RFL’s ongoing Policy Review, one aim of which is to determine a league structure that is viable, commercially appealing and attractive to the public, broadcasters and sponsors alike.
“The move from a 14 club competition to a 12 club competition was a necessary step towards the wider reorganisation of the leagues beyond Super League, and was one which only Super League itself could take under the existing constitution,” said Steele.
“It opens the door to one of two possible structures, both of which involve a restoration of promotion and relegation, which we regard as pivotal to restoring the integrity of the sporting competition.
“However, rugby league is a very different game to football, and we favour the mid-season split of two leagues of 24 to three leagues of eight, because, with careful consideration of the funding, that will enable clubs to progress without the inevitability of the yo-yo effect which applied in the past.”
The Super League clubs rejected the option of remaining as a 14-team competition at a meeting last month and will convene in the coming weeks once the RFL Executive has delivered its report into the 12-team Super League options.