Chairman of amateur club issues warning to rugby league over promotion to professional leagues

THE chairman of amateur club, Medway Dragons, has issued a warning to rugby league over the promotion of sides into the professional leagues.

Recently, rugby league’s governing body, the RFL, released a statement inviting clubs to express their interest in potentially joining League One for 2025.

With the third tier currently sporting nine clubs, the appetite is there to expand the league further following the withdrawal of London Skolars and West Wales Raiders.

For Martin Coyd, the Dragons’ chairman since they were formed 16 years ago in Gillingham, Kent, he has seen first hand how tough it is going from amateur to professional and why clubs should be wary of making the leap.

“Unless you do something different to what the likes of Gloucester, All Golds and Hemel, then it will be difficult to see how it will work,” Coyd told League Express.

“The deal was like, ‘if you’ve got £75,000 then we will match it’ last time but you have to have League One facilities including drug testing rooms and those kinds of things.

“There was a formal audit and inspection before you could even bid but it was far too big a leap.”

So why haven’t the Dragons expressed an interest?

“Rugby league is in an interesting place in the south of England. We are focused on our juniors and we have a thriving wheelchair and men’s section.

“We are just not in a position to contemplate going professional because it’s not just playing on a Saturday – it’s the preparation and the work you have to do.

“I’m close to the game in London and there aren’t many players that are up to League One standard. People can play rugby league but making the step up physically, mentally and medically is huge.

“And if the players are there to do it in London then the Broncos would take them. When the Broncos started taking players off the Skolars, that decimate that organisation.”

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