Super League to return to 12-club competition from 2015

TWO clubs face the chop from Super League at the end of next season after member clubs agreed to reduce the competition from 14 clubs to 12 from the 2015 campaign.
REDUCTION: Super League will be reduced from 14 clubs to 12 clubs from 2015REDUCTION: Super League will be reduced from 14 clubs to 12 clubs from 2015
REDUCTION: Super League will be reduced from 14 clubs to 12 clubs from 2015

The league’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place in Bradford yesterday and clubs agreed to the reduction as part of the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) ongoing Policy Review, which includes an assessment of the current league structure.

Member clubs had already rejected a continuation of the 14-club set-up beyond next season at a meeting last month and also turned down a 10-club competition from 2015 at yesterday’s AGM.

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The next stage is to decide over the remaining two options surrounding the new 12-team competition.

One option involves a 12-team Super League running in tandem with a 12-team Championship which after 23 rounds split into three qualifying play-off groups, each comprising eight clubs.

The other option is for two divisions of 12 with a more traditional style of promotion and relegation between the two competitions.

Super League chief executive Nigel Wood said: “The clubs engaged in a robust and frank debate about the future of their competition and gave their full support to the RFL Executive in our search for the most compelling league structure.

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“It’s apparent that there is a strong and widespread desire to deliver a really exciting league season that provides well-run clubs at all levels of the game with opportunities to flourish, succeed and make progress.

“Our task now is to drill down into the details of a range of issues such as minimum standards, financial distributions and the various mechanics around promotion and relegation.”

Super League rose from 12 clubs to 14 in 2009 under the current three-year licencing system, during which no clubs could be relegated, but the new structure will see the return of promotion and relegation.

The two clubs that finish bottom of Super League next season are expected to be the ones that face the chop from the top flight, with Catalan Dragons and London Broncos no longer exempt, but the RFL has yet to confirm the full details.

Championship clubs will hold a meeting next Wednesday before the RFL Executive will deliver its report into the two options for a 12-team Super League when member clubs reconvene in the coming weeks.