Top two target as Fax aim for £500,000 jackpot

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Halifax have set boss Karl Harrison a top two target in this year’s Championship as the Shay outfit aim for a £500,000 pay day.

The Championship clubs met Rugby Football League officials at Featherstone on Thursday to discover how much central funding they would receive as part of the game’s restructuring in 2015.

From next year, Super League will be cut to 12 teams and run alongside a 12-team Championship, with a ‘three eights’ play off series being introduced after a full round of home and away fixtures.

Fax chairman Michael Steele confirmed the top two clubs in this year’s Championship would receive £500k and £450k respectively, with the payout dropping dramatically to £200k for the third and fourth-placed sides, £175k for fifth and sixth and £150k for the rest.

While those numbers will put extra pressure to perform on Harrison - and his coaching colleagues at other clubs with Super League aspirations - the bugbear is the £780k ‘parachute payment’ that will be given to the two clubs dropping out of the top flight at the end of this season.

“For us, the differential between the figures is too great,” said Steele.

“The key to the whole concept working is the so-called ‘middle eight’, involving the top four Championship clubs and the bottom four in Super League, being a success.

“I think if those games are not competitive, the game as a whole will need to look again at the way the money is shared out.

“As far as Halifax is concerned, nothing has changed: We have set Karl and his players a top two target and that remains in place.”

It was also confirmed that from next season the Championship salary cap will rocket from £300k to £1million, although to spend the maximum amount clubs would need to generate around £2.5million in revenue.

The top four Championship teams will have one slight advantage in the ‘middle eight’ play offs, with four home games, including two against their Super League rivals, guaranteed.

The top three finishers will automatically be included in the top flight the following season, with the fourth and fifth placed clubs playing off - the so-called ‘Million Pound Game’, which could still represent a Championship team’s best chance of promotion - to determine the final place.