Elstone wins vote of confidence

A vote of confidence in Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone was carried by 9 votes to 2 last week.

In the aftermath of Toronto’s expulsion from Super League, Gary Hetherington, the Leeds Rhinos chief executive, and St Helens owner Eamonn McManus had called for Elstone to be removed from his position, to which Wigan Chairman Ian Lenagan responded by proposing a vote of confidence in Elstone.

The nine remaining clubs all supported the motion in a move that showed an increase in support for Elstone since the lockdown.

A vote of 7-5 went in favour of Super League remaining an executive body back in July, rather than move forward with a realignment with the RFL, which has been backed by more than 70 per cent of League Express readers in an online poll.

Hetherington and McManus have both been left infuriated by the decision to kick Toronto out of Super League and angered by Elstone’s handling of the matter.

“It is still staggering that clubs are allowed to decide on the existence of another club,” McManus said.

“I’ve been saying it since before the day Toronto was stood down. It’s a reflection of the totally inadequate governance of Super League that has been in place since its re-constitution two years ago, which has sadly been overlooked ever since.”

Though support for Elstone appears to have grown, the strong opposition from two clubs poses a major problem as Elstone and his team pursue a private equity deal.

Elstone has remained coy about the prospects of a new TV deal and his focus currently seems to be instead towards gaining private investment to inject some much-needed cash into the clubs.

However, the disdain of two board members threatens to unravel hopes of handing control to external investors, as it will require unanimity.

Secrecy surrounding the broadcast deal has caused some concern among clubs both in and outside of Super League, but external investment would ease concerns of the financial prospects facing the sport.

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