Betts: We’re not developing the game, licensing needs to return

Widnes head coach Denis Betts says that the game is not strong enough to cope with the current structure.

Speaking after his sides vital Qualifiers win against Leigh yesterday, Betts was heavily critical of the Super 8s format insisting it is not helping the game grow.

“I’m not sure why this competition’s here,” he told Sky Sports. “Leigh need time – we were given three years.

“Leigh and Widnes are two really good clubs who deserve to be in Super League. You can’t recruit, you can’t get sponsorship, you’re struggling to get players out there because of how hard the season has been.

“We’ve put ourselves in a situation where the game’s not strong enough to take it. We haven’t got enough teams to create one competition let alone three.”

Licensing was initially introduced in 2009 as an alternative to automatic promotion and relegation, with the aim to improve stadiums, finances and the quality of Super League.

Widnes returned to Super League in 2012 when they were granted a three-year license, allowing them time to stabilise again in the top flight.

Despite this, many Championship club’s were critical of the format and labelled Super League a closed shop – which resulted in the system been scrapped.

The Super 8s was introduced for the 2015 season with the slogan ‘every minute matters’ – pitching Super League’s bottom for against the Championship’s top four in a battle for top flight status.

However, this structure has also received massive criticism with the amount of games and uncertainty causing strain on many clubs and restricting the growth of the game.

“You’ve got to look at the sides in the Championship and what they’re doing,” Betts continued. “Do Featherstone want to be a Super League side? Are Halifax able to? Can London?

“Definitely Hull KR can and Leigh have shown they’re a Super League side. But you’ve got to give the Super League sides the right to stay there. Give Leigh a licence for three years and say develop all these kids playing around here.

“You can invest in that. We are not developing the game, we’re not enhancing the game.

“I haven’t seen a good game in this competition. I’ve seen some hair-raising games and some jeopardy and people a bit fearful. But I haven’t seen a good game

“People seem to like it because the X-factor mentality seems to rule the world. Everyone wants to see who dies – not who lives.”