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Warrington Wolves' chief executive Andy Gatcliffe wants answers ahead of club vote
WOLVES want answers about money before voting on a new league format later this month.
Chief executive Andy Gatcliffe expressed his frustration at the lack of Rugby Football League cash support to both a proposed restructure and to the sport’s clubs in general.
He branded as ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’ that no title sponsor exists for the forthcoming World Cup and the current Super League campaign – an opportunity for revenue that could help ease strain on clubs.
The Wolves chief, while applauding the exploration for a structure change that benefits the whole sport, questioned the RFL plan to fund the new look from a £2.4m pot of ‘Super League money’ that could otherwise strengthen the financial stability of the top-level clubs who ‘drive the sport’.
“What are the RFL putting into the pot?” he said.
“Money from the centre (the RFL) is what we all need as the final piece of the jigsaw. It’s all right having a dream but you’ve got to find money for it.
“Something’s got to happen and that’s the drum I’ll continue banging.”
Change is happening because the game is striving for profitable clubs producing more intense and unpredictable matches that enhance spectator value.
Two league-structure options worked around a reduced 12-team Super League for the 2015 season and beyond remain on the table, but Gatcliffe said the intricacies of both need further development and discussion, while the bottom line for him is the ‘missing black hole’.
Gatcliffe explained that the current 14 elite clubs own Super League, each receiving an equal 16th share of around £1.2m from media partner income.
The same portions also go to Championship clubs (equating to around £90,000 each) and the RFL for its management of Super League business, but the reduction to a 12-team top flight means there will be two shares of £1.2m left over. It is this money that the RFL want to tap into to fund the proposed changes.
Gatcliffe said: “Hang on a minute, there are Super League clubs that need assistance financially because there is no money coming in centrally.
“If there was money coming from the centre to us it would take the pressure off clubs.
“Shouldn’t we get our Super League base strong first, the diamond in the jewel of rugby league that’s going to drive everything else, and then roll out.”
- Super League will be reduced to 12 teams in 2015. Clubs finishing in the bottom two next season will be relegated.
- A consideration to operate a 10-team Super League has been dismissed, as has the licensing system for selecting the future make-up of Super League.
- The RFL have been asked to explore two remaining options to present to the sport’s stakeholders later this month
Option One: A 12-team Super League running alongside a 12-team Championship. After 22 home and away matches, as well as a Magic Weekend game, the two divisions would split into three divisions of eight. Teams would then play their seven rivals once before going into a new-look play-offs.
Option Two: Two divisions of 12 with promotion and relegation
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