On Wednesday, 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.
It is widely known that Keighley Cougars were the most opposed out of every club to these proposals.
When asked about their opposition and their concerns, RFL CEO Tony Sutton revealed a great irony about the club as they have shown that they can improve and become a Super League club under the IMG model.
“My view is that they’ve proved exactly how they can improve. I think it was three weekends ago they were the tenth best attended in the country when they played Bradford at home. I don’t know what marketing or digital and social media support they put behind that but they achieved nearly a 5,000 crowd.
“That shows that absolutely it can be done and obviously they picked the right fixture and the timing probably worked pretty well but they demonstrated exactly what you can do at that level. I think they’ve shown what can be done and I suppose the challenge for them is to do that a bit more consistently.”
It is fascinating that a CEO uses much the same logic between chosen evidence and the proposals as any poster on an RL forum.
It could just as easily be asked based on the same evidence that given it’s already part of their structures and processes are IMG needed at all?