Championship club propose new relegation structure to RFL instead of IMG idea

MG today presented to the RFL Council the recommended grading criteria to define how Super League, RFL Championship and League One clubs will be assessed starting from 2025, as part of the Reimagining Rugby League plans.

Based on a combination of on and off-field variables, the proposed grading criteria are designed to collectively increase clubs’ fanbases, diversify revenues, drive investment into clubs and the sport in a sustainable manner, run clubs in a best-in-class way and ensure strong governance is in place.

The recommended grading criteria cover five areas, with each element contributing to a percentage of the overall weighting, including:

Fandom (25%): encouraging clubs to attract more fans in stadia, at home and digitally, and to improve fan engagement, contributing to both club and central revenues.

Performance (25%): incentivising clubs to perform on the field and drive fan awareness and engagement. Teams will be ranked between 1 and 36 based on where they finish in the leagues for the previous three seasons. Bonus points will be awarded to teams who win league and cup competitions in the previous season.

Finances (25%): reflecting the success of fan engagement and business performance and rewarding sustainable investment, as well as diversified revenue streams and sound financial management.

Stadium (15%): based on a number of factors, including facilities and utilisation, which add value to the fan and broadcast or digital viewer experience, and match or exceed competition from other sports and events.

Catchment (10%): based on area population and the number of clubs in the area, with a view to maximising growth of the sport in the largest markets to generate new fan bases and incentivise investment.

Following this meeting in Huddersfield, the RFL have reached out to Ryan and Kaue to listen and understand the very well publicised concerns regarding the IMG proposals.

Chair of the RFL, Simon Johnson met with Ryan and Kaue in central London on Tuesday spending 4 hours in discussions.
Ryan said “The meeting was largely positive. Simon listened to our scepticism and wants to reach a unified position where all clubs can agree to a restructure”
On behalf of the RFL, Simon Johnson agreed to feedback to IMG the concerns and proposals of the Keighley Cougars.
Ryan said “Our key points are that promotion and relegation should be on a 2 up, 2 down model. We tentatively agree that only category A and category B clubs should be in Super League, but that there should not be sub-grading within the A and B categories. We will continue to express our stance on the situation and of course update our fans in due course”.
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