Yesterday, the IMG Grades were released with Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Catalans Dragons, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR and Hull FC the seven clubs leading the way with Grade As.
This is the dawn of an exciting new era for the sport of rugby league but many in the lower leagues feel neglected.
There are still problems to be solved regarding the future of League One and by extension the Championship.
Funding hasn’t even been determined for these clubs.
Thus, in light of the IMG gradings, some fans have come together to form a Super League boycott group on social media.
Their mission statement is outlined by Gareth Malham:
“The RFL’s mismanagement of our game has now come to a head with their engagement of IMG to stitch-up the Super League for a handful of clubs. As fans of championship we can effect this sport by spreadsheet nonsense by disengaging in any way from following the Super league. We all watch the games on TV, most of us go to the odd Super League game, most of us follow the Super League teams social media. If we withdraw this support we can start to level the playing field.”
They also outlined their aims of how to do this: “What we can do to effect the numbers:
“1. Do not watch Super League games on TV, drop viewing figures enough and they’ll get less IMG points.
“2. Unfollow all Super league teams on social media, drop the numbers and they’ll get less IMG points.
“3. Do not buy any merchandise from Super League teams, this will reduce non-centralised turnover and they’ll get less points.
“4. Do not attend any Super League games, this will reduce non-centralised turnover and they’ll get less points.
“5. Follow all championship and league one clubs on social media, up the numbers and they’ll get more points.
“6. Go to as many of your clubs games as you can, home and away, the more support all lower league clubs get the more points.
“7. Buy merchandise from your club and other lower league clubs, increase the non-centralised turnovers for more IMG points.”
You have to credit their ambition on one hand but hurting Super League would only do more long term damage to the sport as a whole.
The sport needs the top tier to make any sort of meaningful money as seen by the £20 million Sky Sports TV deal.
Losing this would be disastrous and therefore their efforts may be ill advised.