Today is the day the next 12 years of rugby league are decided as clubs vote on IMG’s proposals.
Here is what every club has said about the IMG proposals and what their vote will likely be.
The Tigers haven’t made an official statement on their views on IMG. There has been a suggestion that they will vote against the proposals today but others have pushed back against this notion.
The Dragons expressed their early support back in March on Sky Sports that day they took on Wigan Warriors hours after the original proposal.
The Giants haven’t made a statement on the matter but given Ken Davy’s role in Super League’s move towards the future and IMG, it is safe to say they will back IMG.
According to Hull Daily Mail, the Black and Whites will be voting in favour of the IMG proposals.
The same is true of Hull KR with the Hull Daily Mail reporting the same.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington commented on the Rhinos’ website, “Leeds Rhinos are very supportive of the process put in place by the clubs and the RFL which will see a series of recommendations to elevate the games popularity in future years.
“Tomorrow’s vote on the club grading process is the first part of the exercise and it is important for clubs to show support for the RFL, RL Commercial and IMG, who have made the recommendations.
“From the original proposals, the RFL have listened to concerns and certainly addressed the issues around community engagement and player development, which was absent from the initial discussion document,” added Hetherington.
Derek Beaumont has been a brilliant driving forces for the game trying to reach a new audience and taking the game to new levels and he has spoken about the changes IMG can make and many believe a lot of what he has done is to impress IMG. It is expected they will vote in favour.
Salford Red Devils:
There hasn’t been an official stance from the Red Devils on IMG and most on lookers are 50/50 on whether they will vote in favour or against IMG.
Back when IMG made their first proposals, St Helens Club Chairman Eamonn McManus made this full statement on the club website showing the club’s support of IMG:
“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.”
It initially seemed that Wakefield were going to vote against IMG’s changes due to concerns that hadn’t been addressed as said in Michael Carter’s programme notes ahead of the club’s meeting with Leigh but since then there have been reports that Wakefield’s fears have been addressed and they will vote in favour of it.
The Wolves are expected to vote in favour of the IMG proposals with Karl Fitzpatrick in the past open about the impact IMG can have on the sport.
Wigan likewise are expected to vote in favour of the proposals with the club certainly forward thinking in its approach.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Kris Radlinski gave his view in March after the grading system was first revealed:
“No surprises. There was a lot of information that we need to digest. Everyone’s natural reaction is to react to what it means for the club but I have changed my stance and looked at what it means for the sport.
“I have commented about how important the next decade is for rugby league so we need to make sure we’re in a good place.
“We need to improve our standards across the board and that can only be good.
“Overall I thought it was a pretty positive meeting but we still have questions.
“Right from the start from IMG was that we were spending too much time on the rugby but not the product.
“It is a critical period, it won’t be easy but we are dealing with people who know what they’re doing.”
It is now believed Wigan will vote in favour of IMG.