Super League: Blake Solly promotes re-structure including return of relegation

Last Updated: 12/02/14 10:45pm

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Sky Bet

The Rugby Football League's director of Standards and Licensing Blake Solly has been talking with Sky Sports promoting the game's new structure from 2015.

From next season promotion and relegation will be re-introduced after it was abolished to accommodate the licensing programme, which will finish at the end of this season.

After 23 rounds next season the top eight will breakaway and points earned prior to that period will be carried forward as the teams battle for a top-four finish that will secure places in the sudden-death semi-finals with the winners going into the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

"It could be an extension of the play-offs, you could see it that way," Solly told Sky Sports.

"There's seven games for the top eight team to test themselves and then a real sudden-death conclusion to the season where first team plays the fourth team. Second team plays the third team, sudden death winner goes through to the Grand Final and then as we come to expect a great showpiece at Old Trafford."

It has been suggested that a team that finishes eighth will have little to no chance to breaking into the top four, however, Solly insists research suggests that they will not be that far adrift.

"All the research that we did into the competitions in the past in Super League showed that at 23 rounds the average points difference between the team that's fourth at that stage and the team that's finishing eighth at that stage is six points, so that's three wins which is not a huge amount to cover over the seven games and should increase the excitement over the seven-game series," he continued.

Mixed reception

The re-structure plans have not been welcomed with open arms by everyone, however, Solly believes that those involved with rugby league will be looking to make the new system work.

"There's seven games for the top eight team to test themselves and then a real sudden-death conclusion to the season where first team plays the fourth team. Second team plays the third team, sudden death winner goes through to the Grand Final and then as we come to expect a great showpiece at Old Trafford."
Blake Solly

"I think it's certainly been the winter of open and frank discussions. We've had a long time consulting with the clubs. Whatever anyone has said about the vote at the Super League club meeting, what everyone was adamant about they walked away and wanted to support this concept and make sure it's a success.

"We've been very lucky to sign a TV deal now until 2021 with Sky that safeguards the system and should ensure that everyone gets behind it.

"A lot of people would say it's just been an overnight idea, but we've consulted for 18 months. We've researched what drives people to watch games on TV, what drives them to watch 10 matches and certainly the research we've had that's come back to us is people want more matches that matter and this concept delivers it.

"They want sustainable promotion and relegation and the way we've distributing the TV money will ensure that and finally they want more matches of competitive equals and more matches where when someone goes to the game they are unsure what the outcome is going to be. We think this system delivers it in spades."

The Super League teams that miss out on the top eight will form a new eight-team league along with the Championship's top-four sides.

All points accrued at that point will be blanked with the top three teams securing a place in Super League in 2016 while the teams in the fourth and fifth position will play for the final fourth top in the top tier.

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