Analysing the reported four potential Super League clubs to be given Grade A licenses by IMG

LAST night, at their Fans Forum, Hull KR chief executive Paul Lakin revealed that there could well be just four Super League clubs that are given a Grade A license by IMG ahead of the restructure in the near future.

Lakin’s words were: “In the next 12 months there will be announcements of three levels of license, ABC, the intention is over a period of a few years to try and get all clubs in the professional game to the same standard. I think IMG will be announcing only four clubs at grade A, but I believe it will be a high bar and one that’s aspirational. Once a grade A is achieved it will protect these clubs from relegation.”

But, who could those four Super League clubs potentially be?

St Helens

From the top right down to the bottom, St Helens have got everything right – and the proof of the pudding is in the eating with four Super League Grand Final wins in a row. With an excellent academy set-up as well as fantastic facilities, Saints are one of the model clubs in the top flight and would almost certainly be given a Grade A license. Add into the mix the healthy fanbase and continued investment and the Merseyside club probably tick every box.

Leeds Rhinos

Another Super League club that perhaps ticks all the boxes is the Leeds Rhinos. An incredible redeveloped Headingley is the backdrop for a thriving top flight side that made the Grand Final in 2022. As well as a plethora of young talent coming through the ranks such as Oli Field, Max Simpson and Jack Sinfield, the Rhinos’ continued community work and investment in the women’s game are an example to other clubs vying for a Grade A license.

Wigan Warriors

Another great example of a superbly-run Super League club is the Wigan Warriors. With Ian Lenagan at the helm there has been stability for the past decade-and-a-half whilst on-field success is getting there once again following the appointment of Matt Peet as head coach. Add into the mix a brilliant facility at the DW Stadium as well as a thriving youth system and Wigan will surely be one of the four awarded a Grade A license.

Warrington Wolves

Though on the field, the Warrington Wolves endured a dismal season in 2022, off the field the club has the continued backing of music mogul Simon Moran. The Warrington owner – whose management company oversees the likes of The Script and other bands – has continued his investment right from the early 2000s when he helped the Wolves move to their new facility at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. With Warrington also investing heavily in their youth commitments as Gary Chambers steps up his brilliant role at the club, the Cheshire club are likely to be the fourth club given a Grade A license.