Super League: Players reject RFL plans
Last Updated: 23/06/13 2:08pm
Jon Wilkin: 1eagu3 chairman favours a simple approach to league restructuring
Players have overwhelmingly rejected the Rugby Football League's (RFL) plan to split a two-division Super League into three leagues of eight during the course of the season.
The proposal is one of three options on the table as the RFL looks at restructuring the competition from 2015.
In a poll commissioned by the Super League players association, 1eague3, 146 of the 158 players voted instead for a 12-team top-flight, a reduction of two teams from the current levels.
That would see one team promoted and one relegated from Super League, while just seven players voted for the controversial 2x12, 3x8 proposal.
"All players acknowledge the need for the game to become more productive commercially," said St Helens and England forward Jon Wilkin, who is chairman of 1eagu3.
"For that to happen, I think it's safe to assume there is a game-wide acknowledgment that an element of change is required.
"Changing the structure is, however, just one small part of the puzzle and needs to fall in line with an understanding of the fantastic value of the product the players deliver and how to extract as much commercially from this great product as we can.
"At 1eagu3 we are committed to ensuring the results of the players' poll are fed back to the RFL and that the best interests of the players are considered in the decision to action change."
The RFL and its member clubs are in discussions over the structure of the game, with the current licensing system likely to be scrapped at the end of next season.
The third option is for two divisions consisting of 10 teams, with a vote expected to be taken in August following further consultation and debate.
"I am grateful to the RFL for consulting with 1eagu3, both in terms of information and in face-to-face briefings," said 1eagu3 chief executive Ernie Benbow.
"It is hoped that the consultation is proper, effective and meaningful and not lip service to the required consultative process.
"We have consulted our members who have voted in numbers with a clear and unequivocal message - simplicity is the way forward. No other major league opts for such complexity, so why rugby league?"
Benbow also points out that the 2x12; 3x8 plan was tried, tested and rejected by the Swiss Football Association and has recently been rejected as an option by the Scottish FA.