This week was a monumental week in the history of rugby league as IMG presented their recommendations for rugby league to Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs.
The recommendations are set to “re-imagine” rugby league with an eye to further develop international rugby league, simplify the calendar and the big one: end traditional relegation from Super League.
This is because clubs will be graded as either category A, B or C. Super League will be made up of category A clubs unless there is an insufficient number of these clubs in which case in the first years of this system will see category B clubs feature in the top tier.
These categories will be decided by a certain criteria which has yet to be confirmed however hints have been made.
These are set to benefit clubs who are in new areas and not close to other teams.
This means there could be limited development opportunities for League 1 clubs who are located around the other teams.
Speaking on The Full 80 Minute podcast, rugby league journalist, The Game Caller said that he believed this could lead to some clubs folding:
“Some clubs will fold, because they’re not going to make it. They’ve not got the drive, the ambition, the facilities.”
Meanwhile, rugby league agent Craig Harrison believed that six or so clubs in the League 1 and the Championship in expansion areas could become a real threat to Super League including Cornwall:
“But there’s six clubs who if they had financial backing they would become dangerous because they’d be ticking the boxes. Cornwall will become dangerous proposition.
“Doncaster will tick a lot of boxes, Sheffield. Your historic clubs where you have lots of clubs are close together, they’ll say ‘even if we invest here we can’t go any further.'”
He believes situations like this could also lead to more wealthy investors looking to buy clubs in these areas knowing they could get to Super League with ease under the criteria IMG are set to introduce.
He said on the podcast: “You’ll see a lot of wealthy people come to our sport because there will be the chance to get to the promised land without spending four or five million.
“This time you can look at a club and go ‘I wouldn’t mind buying Cornwall.’
“I’d love to see a Dublin. A new club will have a chance and okay these old flowers are dead, but these new flowers are going to have a real chance of sprouting in the garden.
“If you’re looking at an area of expansion and say ‘if I get a club there and start in Champ 1, I could with investment work it up very quickly and tick all the boxes.'”