The Rugby League Council, the sport’s decision-making body which comprises representatives from all three professional competitions and the community game, have today voted in favour of Club Grading – the first recommendation from IMG, the sport’s long term strategic partner, as part of the Reimagining Rugby League strategy.
In a Special General Meeting in Huddersfield, the Yorkshire town where the rebel rugby code was formed as the Northern Union in 1895, the recommendations were supported by a majority of clubs in each of the three professional competitions, and received unanimous support from the community game.
Bradford Bulls were among the clubs who voted in favour of the proposals but now have raised what they feel is the next concern: structure.
They made the following statement:
“The Bulls gave in depth and comprehensive consideration to the IMG proposals to assess clubs more holistically in their development and performance.
“Whilst not perfect, the Board recognised that all clubs should be charged with improving standards across the board, including finance, facilities, marketing and player development, as well as the performance of first teams.
“Crucial in our evaluation was the reconfirmation of the aspiration to increase the size of Super League in future years, as more and more clubs achieve the standards and levels of excellence that the RFL and IMG are seeking.
“Knowing that every club in membership can work progressively towards admittance to the top league was a fundamental dimension.
“Grading will not suddenly transform the sport overnight, but it should provide encouragement to all clubs to make progress across the board.
“While the grading proposals have dominated the media over the past few months, the Bulls now look forward to the debate moving on to how the sport’s “Reimagining” considers league and season structure going forward.”