Super League Champions St Helens confirm their stance on IMG recommendations

Yesterday, IMG presented their recommendations to Super League, Champions and League 1 clubs.

These were headlined by the end of traditional promotion and relegation in favour of the return of licencing.

The recommendations were as follows:

A re-positioned calendar which optimises flow, narrative and engagement, incorporating regular ‘peaks’ of interest and a compelling season climax.

A calendar aligned with the global game to facilitate an international window in October and incorporate a mid-season international.

Participation in the top tier to be based on a range of on and off field measures, delivered through a club grading system with the aim of supporting financial sustainability and encouraging investment into clubs.  ‘Category A’ clubs will be guaranteed participation in the top tier whilst ‘Category B’ clubs will be re-assessed annually with the highest-ranking clubs occupying the remaining slots in the top tier.

Promotion and relegation will continue on the field of play between the second and third tiers with tier two increasingly filled with strong Category B Clubs.

An expansion strategy to be developed that targets and supports the growth of the Women’s and Girls’ game, and also growth in new markets.

Participation of clubs outside of the UK to be capped and with additional standards to support domestic growth.

Operations to be centralised where this can maximise efficiencies and drive incremental revenue (e.g. ticketing and digital infrastructure).

A new brand strategy to be introduced and aligned with the above commercial strategy.

These recommendations will effect clubs at all levels but the side at the very top of the pyramid has had it’s say.

Super League Champions St Helens, who made it four titles in a row on Saturday, have backed the recommendations believing that they will improve the quality of the game at a number of levels.

Club Chairman Eamonn McManus made this full statement on the club website:

“It is clear that the recommendations aim to improve quality of product, quality of club and also the game’s investment appeal at every level.

“It should achieve all of those. Crucially, the implementation of the recommendations will be backed long term by the world class resources and expertise of the Endeavour IMG group.

“The review and its recommendations have clearly been exhaustive and transparent. Importantly, it has been compiled by an institution independent of clubs or their governing body and is designed to benefit the game in its entirety.

“It will provide a very solid platform for future growth. This gives Endeavour IMG the ability to bring to bear its global resources and expertise in media, streaming, digital, branding, gambling, sponsorship and events management in order to ensure improved profile and revenue growth throughout the game of rugby league and to the benefit of all.

“Exciting and rewarding years lie ahead for the game and for those who are committed to excellence and to improvement. The timing is more than opportune and St Helens look forward to supporting all aspects of this strategic initiative.”

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