Chairman hits out at rival clubs for selfish actions

Every club wants to join the likes of Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens but the futures of teams in the Championship and League One is up in the air.

League One is arguably is at death’s door with Newcastle Thunder and London Skolars withdrawing.

But problematically, a suggestion to join with the Championship was voted against.

Now Rochdale Hornets Chairman Andy Mazey has issued a statement hitting out at this.

He said: “Firstly I would like to send our thoughts and best wishes to everyone connected with Newcastle Thunder. The news that Newcastle will no longer compete in League One is nothing short of a disaster for the sport following on from the demise and losses of London Skolars and West Wales.

“Back in April this year, around the time of the IMG vote i personally wrote to Simon Johnson Chairman the RFL. The main purpose of this communication was to go on record that Rochdale Hornets strongly believe that League One was completely unsustainable and express our view that once the IMG voting process was concluded, attention should very quickly turn to how we reimagine ALL aspects of the game into thriving, competitive and growing competition’s for ALL clubs, and not just those fortunate enough to be in Championship right now.

“We have believed even before the withdrawal of London and sadly now Newcastle that League One was flawed and totally unsustainable. It can no longer just be ignored that League One clubs face significant challenges with reduced and in truth very little funding from the centre, a reduced numbers of fixtures meaning far too much down time between games, and increasing travel costs due to traveling the length and breadth of the UK with next to no away followings in return. If we are to back expansion this pain should be shared across the members. I could go on all day about this but the top and bottom is it’s simply not viable and will only see more clubs driven out of business and more good people forced away from the sport if we don’t address it now. Short term solutions such as loop fixtures for 2024 only kick the can down the road, we need to have some courage in our convictions, be bold enough to push past those with self interest and brave enough to do something exciting and new rather just sit and wait for 2025.

“At this stage in a closed season we should by now have boxed off our final budget and financial projections for the year and have our season passes and ticket prices locked and loaded – yet while writing today, we can’t because we don’t know exactly what the format will be. We are working hard to grow our business and IMG want us to increase non centralised turnover and invest in their recommendations, but how do we do this without a competition structure that helps ALL its member clubs to maximise their opportunities?

“What is most disappointing is the position some Championship clubs have adopted on this. Not so long ago many of the same colleagues publicly criticised Super League clubs and owners for acting in self interest, yet in a recent Council meeting i witnessed an i’m alright Jack attitude with a number making it clear that they had no interest in a merged competition or conference format.

“For avoidance of doubt Rochdale Hornets absolutely support immediate change for the good of the whole sport. Further more myself and others would be excited by this and will invest more in our club to be competitive and add value to an expanded Championship and or a conferenced type structure.

“It is the duty of a strong governing body to act in the best interest of sport as a whole and in the best interest of all its shareholders and i urge our NGB to do so in the week that lies ahead.

“I can confirm that Rochdale Hornets will continue to be part of discussions and will, of course. update supporters as soon as possible.”