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British rugby league set for radical new structure

A verdict on the new Championship and League One is expected to be made after Christmas as the new year begins.

This is so clubs can understand the makings of the new season and the implications of league position with regards to promotion and relegation.

This is a vital stepping off point for the lower leagues as it could determine the value of the League One as a competition and the money the clubs in that division can make as well as the further investment they can expect to try and climb IMG’s new system.

This is set to include a big impact on Newcastle Thunder who are hoping to be a part of the League One season.

They have broken down their plans for 2024 into three:

Phase One – Gaining acceptance into League One. New company formed, ownership transferred from Thunder Rugby Ltd (current owners), financial plan confirmed, RFL compliance satisfied.

Phase Two – Pre-season and building the squad. Coach and support staff appointed, players signed, pre-season training commenced, home venue confirmed, volunteer roles identified and fixtures announced.

Phase Three – The Betfred League One season. All matches completed in League Ones, Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup. Partnerships with Super League and Championship clubs developed, commercial programme implemented, 2025 planning commences.

Speaking about the progress to date and the fundraising efforts Chair Keith Christie said: “An incredible amount of work has been undertaken so far in realising our goal to get a competitive Thunder team back on the field in League One for 2024. Can I thank all the volunteers who have stepped forward with offers of help, to our sponsors for their commitment to back the club, and to everyone who has committed to a Membership for 2024.

“We’ve identified three clear phases to the next season. We are very much focussed on Phase One and gaining acceptance to the RFL BetFred League One competition. Without this the next two parts of the jigsaw don’t happen. The most important part of this initial stage is ensuring the finances are in place and that’s why our membership programme is so important. We have hit 40% of our membership target in the first 5 days of launching which is a brilliant start. But there’s still more members that we need to attract, so we would urge all rugby league fans in the region and beyond to step up now and commit for 2024.

“We also have to start looking at Phases Two and Three of our planning as time isn’t a luxury we have ahead of the season start in 2024. Thoughts around coaching staff, players, venue, support staff and what match-days will look like are all advancing, but our focus first and foremost is getting the green light to compete. Without the finances confirmed we can’t and won’t start the 2024 season so Phase One is absolutely critical.

“Our thanks go to Semore Kurdi and the staff at Kingston Park who have been really helpful in the transfer of ownership to a new structure. We can share more information at the supporters meeting on Monday 4 December and we need another strong turnout to keep the momentum going.”

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