Last week, Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR, Hull FC, Catalans Dragons and St Helens were all awarded Grade A status by IMG in the rankings they published meaning that these seven clubs would be guaranteed a place in Super League if they maintain their Grade A status.
There was a whole host of clubs with Grade B status. In fact 17 clubs were given Grade Bs with the highest being Salford Red Devils in eighth and whilst London Broncos ranked 24th with the worst ranking of any club with a Grade B.
Between them were the Barrow Raiders who have now been awarded a further 0.5 points after a mishap from the RFL who hadn’t realised that there had been a change to the local council boosting their catchment.
The club stated: “However, we will be awarded an extra 0.5pts as the RFL didn’t realise the change to Westmorland and Furness council and a new population around 220,000.
“To get to 1.5pts we need a population above 250,000. New jobs in the area and a university campus may help to increase our local population but probably not enough for another 0.5pts.
“We scored 0.5pts from a possible 1pt for the turnover of our foundation, averaging above £50k for the last three years. This rises to 0.75pts for £250k turnover and 1pt for £1 million turnover.”
They also confirmed to fans they were not in fear of breaching minimum standards: “Grade A and B clubs must have a talent pathway which includes a women’s team. Non-achievement results in a 0.25 deduction in year 1, 0.5pts in year 2 and a full grade deduction for subsequent years.
“Grade A and B clubs must have a foundation registered with the charity commission and a Community Rugby League Development Plan. Non-achievement results in a 0.25 deduction in year 1, 0.5pts in year 2 and a full grade deduction for subsequent years.
“Breaches of Operational Rules, Breaches of other regulations and Insolvency all also result in deductions.
“Grade A and B clubs must submit an Equality, Inclusivity and Diversity action plan. Non-achievement results in a 0.25 deduction in year 1, 0.5pts in year 2 and a full grade deduction for subsequent years.
“Grade A and B clubs must not have 3 anti-doping violations in one year or face a 0.25pts deduction. Grade A and B clubs must have an Environmental Sustainability audit and action plan. Non-achievement results in a 0.25 deduction in year 1, 0.5pts in year 2 and a full grade deduction for subsequent years.
“Barrow Raiders should not have to face deductions with all of the above being actioned behind the scenes.
“There is probably an extra 3.5pts that we could put plans in place to achieve. This would put us in a fighting position with other high ranked B clubs to make a claim for Super League.
“However, the stadium issue will not go away. Craven Park is unlikely to meet minimum standards, and the time is now right to consider other options. With the town about to enter a period of prosperity due to the increased workforce in the Defence Industry, we call on BAE Systems to help with the improvement of the town with the provision of a top-class sporting venue.
“BAE Systems understand that in order to attract a high calibre workforce the town has to become more attractive, and having top-class rugby league (and EFL football) should be part of that attraction.
“The Board of Directors want our club to be something that our fans and sponsors can be proud of. We are working tirelessly to build a better club, not just a better team. Although we voted against the IMG proposals, as we still believe that sport should be decided on the playing field, albeit with minimum standards in place, the fundamental principles of what IMG are trying to achieve, we believe in.
“Better crowds, better facilities, well-run clubs that are the fabric of the local community are all admirable aims, and we share the belief that focusing on these aims will improve the game.
“Barrow Raiders is set-up as a not for profit organisation and everything we do is with the aim of improving the club. We have diversified our income streams, in part to help with the club growth but also to make our community a better place.
“Sometimes we do cheap offers to try to get more supporters into the ground, this is to help with the growth of our community game and newly-formed ladies teams. We only have one thing in mind and that is the growth of our club.
“We want to be a club that plays in front of thousands of people with all supporters and sponsors having a sense of belonging and pride that they are able to play their part in having such a vital and iconic club in our local area of Barrow and District and beyond.
“We want to thank every supporter and sponsor who is invested in the club, whether financially or emotionally, and we hope that you will continue to back the club and hopefully we can put plans in place to continue our upward trajectory.”