Money talks: The next step in Super League restructure

Super League and the RFL are no closer to agreeing on operational details for new structure

Warrington Wolves’ chief executive Andy Gatcliffe

First published in Wolves
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SUPER League clubs and the Rugby Football League are no closer to settling how the details of the revised league structures will work from the 2015 season onwards.

Since the RFL and member clubs ratified the changes that will split a reduced 12-team Super League and Championship into three leagues of eight after 23 games of the season, the new structure’s operational details have not been confirmed.

But Warrington Wolves’ chief executive Andy Gatcliffe has said that the RFL and the clubs must thrash out the wider financial implications of the changes before worrying about how the league will actually work.

“You have to work out what the priorities are and one of the priorities has to be money,” said Gatcliffe.

“Why do the struggling clubs keep coming back for money? Because the clubs do not have the ability to raise the necessary capital, and that is where the central money and distribution of TV and sponsorship revenues come in.

“They are a major part of this, so we need to get that resolved before we look at the operational details.”

The RFL and Super League clubs are now discussing how the league’s finances will work from the 2015 season onwards, with much hinging on the amount TV broadcasters are willing to pay and how that, as well as revenue from new title sponsors First Utility and new secondary sponsors, will be divided.

“The brief we have given to the RFL now is to look at the commercial side of it,” said Gatcliffe.

“Now we know what the structure is going to be, the instruction to the RFL on the clubs’ behalf is to talk to the television broadcasters who are the source of a lot of money coming into our sport.

“Find out what they can afford to pay for that revised structure and how soon they can pay it.

“Let’s then look at the second stage of the financial aspects, which are the sponsors.

“We have to look at how we carve the overall pot of money from everything – broadcasters, sponsors – because that pot is going to change.

“These are the stages that we must go through and then we come to the operational structure – how it is going to work and how we are going to market it as individual clubs to supporters.”

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