The future of every Betfred Super League club, Championship club and League One club including Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens is in the hands of IMG and their grading criteria.
This grading system has already been voted in despite objections from Keighley Cougars and Batley Bulldogs.
Super League places will be determined by the points awarded from this grading system with Grade A clubs guaranteed a place in Super League with high ranking Grade B clubs filling out the league.
The pillars of this grading system have already been revealed already by the RFL and they are as follows:
Fandom: 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: 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: reflecting the success of fan engagement and business performance and rewarding sustainable investment, as well as diversified revenue streams and sound financial management.
Stadium: 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: 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.
A further in depth look into the points structure have been published in a handbook on the RFL’s website.
This includes what clubs could have points deducted for.
They are as follows: Breach of Operational Rules, Breach of other regulations (such as HMRC or Health and Safety), insolvency, comply with the Professional Club Governance Code in place, Grade A & B must submit an action and progress plan to the RFL annually, anti-doping, environmental sustainability.
Clubs can lose points for these areas which can hurt their Super League chances.