Once again Super League is dominated by rumours of re-structuring which doesn’t surprise me. This is an important period for the sport especially following the damage of the pandemic.
According to reports a number of radical changes have been proposed but the most talked about potential new system at the moment is the introduction of a 10-team Super League.
To reach this system by 2023, two teams would be promoted to the top flight this term before four are relegated next year creating two tiers of 10. The main selling point of this is that relegation would arguably become more sustainable with the gap in distribution money lessening.
However, it seems to cast aside any side who fall outside of the top 20 essentially meaning if you fail to finish inside the top six of the Championship next season, you’re going to receive a lot less funding – not ideal when plenty of expansion clubs reside in the lower tiers and to me these clubs are the way forward.
There’s a lot to love about this proposed new system and many appear to like the idea, however there are plenty of drawbacks besides the damage it would do to clubs outside the top two tiers.
For instance, a 10-team league would create the need to repeat multiple fixtures. This is already a problem in a 12-team league with many suggesting that derbies like Hull FC v Hull KR and Wigan v St Helens have become overplayed to the point at which they’ve lost their shine. This would only be compounded in this system.
Furthermore, you could argue that relegation is more sustainable in this new format and it very well could be but surely that would just culminate in the creation of yo-yo clubs bouncing from one league to the other. There’d be no time to create a steady and stable project. This is why I’ve always been in favour of licensing because it gives clubs the freedom to stick to their philosophies with rewards coming in the long term.
Moreover, if you tell the league that four teams will be relegated next year that’s only going to cause panic. Clubs could overspend to avoid the drop culminating in a host of financial issues doing damage to a number of teams so much so that the top 20 could be hurt in the long run.
There’s perhaps a need for a new shape again in Super League and one that is as good for the long term as it is for the short term but is a 10-team league the way forward? What do you think?