Featherstone chairman Campbell accuses RFL & clubs of holding back the sport

Featherstone chairman Mark Campbell has admitted he is questioning his involvement in the game after the RFL’s decision to null and void the season.

Campbell believes fellow Championship clubs with no ambition are holding the sport back and says the RFL allow clubs to have too much say on the future of the sport.

He fears the decision to cancel the competition will have dire consequences for the sport as a whole, with Campbell warning the decision will push many fans out of the sport for good.

“I think this decision will massively damage the game,” he said.

“I think this will disillusion a lot of fans, it will have an impact across the board. The rugby league fan is unique, they will watch any rugby league club. They don’t just love their club, they love the game. I don’t think the RFL understand the fanbase and the customers. I think it will have a negative impact on World Cup ticket sales too.

“Through these times you start looking at the time you spend with your families. All the time and effort you have to put in, you do question if it is really worth it? And you have to say absolutely not. Everything in this sport is cloak and daggers. There’s no trust in the governing body or any clear direction for the sport. It goes from calamity to calamity.

“Non-ambitious clubs basing their decisions on distribution money are holding back the sport. If they’ve no ambition, what’s the point?

“The standard of the Championship in my time has risen so much, the professionalism is fantastic and a great spectacle, that’s come about through investment, better players, training facilities and fan experience. That’s come about over a decade. I feel as though we’re going back to dark days of playing for winning money.

“Super League clubs didn’t want promotion or relegation and if I was in their shoes I’d be the same I suppose, but that’s why you need a governing body to do what is right for the sport, the broadcaster and the fans. You can’t have clubs determining the direction of the sport because the decisions they make are just in self-interest and this sport has more non-ambitious clubs than ambitious ones, so it will always be held back.”

He continued: “I think once you take away promotion and relegation you’ll end up with dead rubber games and you’ll see that in Super League getting back, clubs will put their feet up. Wakefield have already said they’ll get their players operations and play their kids. Would they do that if relegation was at stake? Most of the entertaining games last year were the teams involved in the relegation battle. It was great TV, now you’re taking that all away.”

Campbell also claimed his proposal for Featherstone to take Toronto’s place in this year’s Super League competition had not been acknowledged.

“I’ve not had one email back from Robert Elstone or Ralph Rimmer. They’ll probably ring West Wales up before Featherstone Rovers. They see us as little old Featherstone.”

Campbell also confirmed he had yet to decide if the club would enter the Autumn invitation competition.

“I can’t see the point of it at this moment in time. If a few clubs want to enter into a friendly comp they can enter, but I don’t see why you’d want to do that.”