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RFL CEO explains how Championship and League One clubs won’t be disadvantage in IMG critiera

IMG have released their amendments to their grading criteria today after discussions with clubs in recent weeks.

The focus mainly was more weight placed on community involvement over finance however there has been a subtle change to the way in which the digital reach of clubs is assessed which is overall symbolic of how, although weighted the same in every league, the criteria leaves the door open for clubs to climb and not be disadvantaged by being outside of Super League which has been a major criticism.

RFL CEO Tony Sutton explained:

“The weighting is the same all the way through clubs 1-36 as we are at the moment. There is no divisional weighting for each area, however there are areas where Championship or League One clubs can score strongly.

“To take the point in finance, within turnover it’d very simple to just measure the size of turnover but that’s not what we’re doing.

“None-central turnover, as a percentage of the turnover, is also measured and that’s specifically to say that if  a League One club is achieving more turnover as a multiple than a Championship club then that’s directly measured.

“So there are some areas of the model where those differences are there. Also the performance pillar that I touched on, in terms of a club that finishes top of the Championship and then can also for example win the 1895 Cup and the Championship bonus point, they’ll score above a Super League club within that ladder.

“That’s how the engineering of the model can deliver churn between the divisions. There are other areas that are slightly more in depth in terms of the detail behind them. By having these things embedded in the model it does deliver some change which is of course part of the intent.

He went on to focus specifically on the amendment to the digital criteria: “The digital amendment is done with this in mind. We’ve increased engagement over followers so that takes out how big a club you are, but talks about how good you are at engaging with your digital community and how you can bring people in through the activity that you do digitally.

“The thresholds that exist allow Championship and League One clubs to excel at digital and not be hampered by what we’d assume is a smaller audience than perhaps a Leeds or a St Helens.”

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