Two leagues of 12 could split in to three leagues of eight under new proposals for Super League, according to the Daily Mail.
Last week, Super League clubs met to discuss initial ideas with regards to a re-structuring of the sport, with the re-introduction of promotion and relegation likely to be part of the changes.
This particular proposal would see 11 rounds in the 12-team format, before the top eight play in their own league, the bottom four joining the top four from the Championship in the second tier, and the bottom eight teams of the Championship contesting the third tier.
Click here to read the full story in the Daily Mail.
It’s one suggestion at least. The importance of this decision should not be underestimated. Getting the right format is crucial to the future of the game, ensuring that existing fans aren’t alienated, and to increase the appeal of the sport to new fans.
Friends of mine cannot understand how a team can be elevated to the top flight from fifth place, finish bottom of the league and not get relegated, and how you can finish top of the league and not become champions without needing to go through the play-offs.
The drama of the football season in recent weeks has showed just what a relegation battle do to capture the imagination of fans.
Sport is supposed to be about what happens on the pitch, not what happens off it.
It’s interesting that this proposal is similar to the one thrown out by the Scottish Premier League in football recently – but this shouldn’t automatically mean it’s not right for rugby league.
It ticks all the right boxes.
Competitive games from the off, with teams knowing they have to do well in the first 11 games to ensure they make it through to the correct “tier”.
The ability for teams in the Championship, like Featherstone, Halifax and Sheffield, to finally mix it with the big boys based on merit.
A clear pathway, even for the 24th ranked team in rugby league, to make it to the top. In theory, four teams could get promoted in one season.
Now for questions.
Is 25 games a season enough?
What will the difference be in salary cap between league one and two, bearing in mind four from each will be playing in the middle tier?
How will the two clubs who need to be removed from Super League be decided? Relegation at the end of 2014?
What happens between the bottom of the second league and the remaining professional rugby league structure?
Could we end up with the same three leagues of eight year after year?
It’s going to take time to find the correct format.
What’s important is that rugby league eradicates its voice of dissent. We’ve got enough battles to fight getting fans in to games, attracting sponsors and getting decent media coverage, without the existing support complaining daily about the state and structure of the game.
There are sure to be other suggestions on the table. What would you come up with?