Rugby league clubs to vote on three options for future

 

Super League and Championship clubs are set to vote on three new options for a proposed restructure of the game.

The most revolutionary involves two leagues of 12 teams, splitting into three divisions of eight halfway through the season.

Another involves a two-division Super League, and the third a Super League and Championship with one club promoted and relegated each season.

The three RL proposals

Option 1 - Super League reverts to a 12-team competition (from 14) and a 10 or 12-team Championship, with one club promoted and relegated each year

Option 2 - A two-division Super League with each division comprising 10 teams

Option 3 - Two divisions of 12 in Super League, with teams playing each other once to provide 11 fixtures before splitting into three groups of eight in mid-season and then playing each other home and away to provide 14 more matches

However, no changes can be introduced until the start of the 2015 season.

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood said: "The interest already shown in these ideas has been very encouraging and I believe these new proposals will produce positive change and innovation across the whole sport."

Places in Super League have been subject to a licensing system since 2009, with 14 clubs granted three-year licences (2009-11 and 2012-14), during which time they cannot be relegated.

However, some clubs, particularly those at the top of the Championship, want a return to regular promotion and relegation.

All Super League and Championship clubs have been consulted and a proposal to maintain the status quo was rejected.

The new options are as follows:

Option 1 - Super League reverts to a 12-team competition (from 14) and a 10 or 12-team Championship, with one club promoted and relegated each year.

Option 2 - A two-division Super League with each division comprising 10 teams.

Option 3 - Two divisions of 12 in Super League, with teams playing each other once to provide 11 fixtures before splitting into three groups of eight in mid-season and then playing each other home and away to provide 14 more matches.

Each of the three groups in the third option would conclude with a play-off series and a Grand Final or play-off final. The final standings at the end of the regular season would determine the make-up of the two 12-team divisions for the following season.

The third option would mean two teams being relegated from Super League at the end of next season.

Wood added: "I do believe that we need to create a pathway into Super League but it is essential that we are mindful of the challenges that a straight reintroduction of promotion and relegation between part-time and full-time leagues would create.

"While there is a recognition that the time is right for change, we fully understand the need to avoid destabilising the excellent progress that has been made in recent years."

The RFL has used research from sports industry financial experts KPMG in drafting its proposals.