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.
The proposals were backed by all 11 Super League clubs eligible to vote with Catalans Dragons not allowed a vote due to the fact they not a member.
Speaking after the vote, Rhodri Jones of the RFL explained how this unanimous vote amongst Super League clubs is vital in looking for a broadcast deal for 2024 and beyond with the current deal expiring at the end of the year.
He said of all the Super League clubs voting for IMG:
“It’s really important, not just from within the game but also externally as well. We’re clearly going into bat on broadcast and to have a top division who have differing views might not have been the best look. Not just from a broadcaster perspective but commercially, government, parliament etc it’s really important.”
Asked if broadcasters were in favour of the proposals, Jones said: “They were very aware of it and aware of the growth plan and maximising that growth. They knew the vote was today, I’ve not had chance to speak with them yet but they’ll be positive that it’s an 86% success.”