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.
There was some confusion around the voting however.
Initially, the voting appeared as follows;
Ten of the 11 Betfred Super League clubs voted in favour, with one absention. (The 12th club, Catalans Dragons, were not entitled to vote).
Eight of the 13 Betfred Championship clubs voted in favour, with one absention. (The 14th club, Toulouse Olympique, were not entitled to vote)
Seven of the 11 Betfred League One clubs voted in favour, with one absention.
The total number of votes in favour was therefore 32, with seven opposed, and three abstentions.
However, according to the RFL, after the meeting, two clubs – Salford Red Devils and London Skolars – indicated that they wished their recorded vote to be amended.
Salford had abstained but on a misunderstanding of the nature of the vote – and indicated that they had intended to vote in favour.
London Skolars had voted against, but indicated that they did so in error, and intended to abstain.
Explaining what happened, Salford Red Devils Chairman Paul King explained on social media:
“Our council rep thought he was voting on an amendment not the actual proposal, an error that was quickly corrected. As I was one of the club reps who worked on the RFL realignment and creation and recruitment of RL commercial we are probably the biggest FOR in the room.”
He went on to explain why the club are for IMG’s changes:
“We need to be better and this is a template to achieve that. Fully accept its a vote for the sport and not necessarily us as a club but we’re at a crossroads as a sport and IMG have an incredible track record, so let’s have a go and see where it leads.”