RFL optimistic after latest round of talks on game restructure

Last Updated: 04/07/13 10:40am

Rugby League has taken a big step towards restructuring, the RFL Chief Operating Officer has told Boots 'N' All.

In the latest consultation between stakeholders at all levels, including fans, players, Super League and Championship clubs and other administrators, the hot topic was reducing the top-flight, along with promotion and relegation, the number of lower divisions and redistribution of wealth.

Super League places have been subject to a licensing system since 2009, with 14 clubs granted three-year licences (2009-11 and 2012-14), during which time they cannot be relegated.

And with three options for the restructure having been debated for several months, it appears a revised version of splitting two divisions of 12 into three of eight a third of the way through the season is getting closer to being rubber-stamped.

"It would appear we have the goodwill of the game and everybody understands we are trying to do some justice to the game"

Ralph Rimmer

"We're certainly not over the line," said RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer. "But it seems we're warming towards the 12 and 8s. This was just another step in the process and today we got our nose ahead.

"History has been laid bare with many a dictator failing to test its market before dictating. We're not dictators, we are leaders but not stupid enough to lead without taking the pulse of the game first.

"When it comes to decision time, the governing body will make the right decision in the best interests of the game. Everybody has a conflict of interest and will want to look after the future of their own constituency.

"We have to take a step back and find a solution which hopefully provides a framework to take the game forward because we need to do that."

Balance

Promotion and relegation has come under fire in some circles, with some critics suggesting it harms the long-term planning for some clubs.

Rimmer recognised this argument but added that a balance was needed and considering everybody was crucial to the process.

"It has been suggested we have been missing some element of jeopardy," he added.

"The 12 and three of eight option is trying to bridge that gap without jeopardizing the future of some of those clubs and that whoever goes up and goes down is sustainable and also credible in their environment.

"This is about consultation about taking the sport forward. We've not not just talked about integration, but also player pathway and developing the right pathways from bottom to top.

"You need co-operation from every element of the game. The welfare of the game is at stake and today I thought the audience constructively contributed. It would appear we have the goodwill of the game and everybody understands we are trying to do some justice to the game."

Rimmer insisted that the final decision on restructuring will be finalised before the end of the summer.

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