The owners of both rugby league clubs in Hull have united ahead of Friday’s EGM to determine the future of the sport’s professional league structure – warning the game outside of Super League of a bleak future if top-flight proposals for change are rejected.
Adam Pearson and Neil Hudgell have been two of the most outspoken figures in the game on Super League’s intent to end the current Super 8s structure before the end of this season.
And now, Pearson and Hudgell have issued a joint statement insisting that it is time the lower leagues pay full attention to what could happen to the game if the proposals are knocked back.
They said: “After a lengthy period of discussion and negotiation, the concessions made by Super League clearly recognise the contributions made by all parts of the game and respect the needs and concerns of those groups.
“At the heart of these proposals, Super League has guaranteed automatic promotion and relegation, offering greater certainty than the Qualifiers; has guaranteed funding of the Championship and League 1 at existing levels until the end of the current TV deal; and, has committed substantial guarantees of funding from the next TV deal even if the value of the new arrangement is reduced.”
Pearson and Hudgell also accused a number of clubs outside of Super League of ‘mischief-making’, saying: “Super League has listened. It is now time for the Championship and League 1 to listen and to understand what life might be like should Friday’s proposals not be approved.
“Much-needed change cannot be held back by a Governing Body failing to discharge its game wide obligations or a handful of lower division clubs engaged in opportunism, mischief-making and narrow-mindedness. Beyond the end of the current television deal financial guarantees are difficult to give.
“It is hard to predict the landscape in 2022. Nothing will be certain. The only guarantee should the proposals be rejected, is that the RFL and the rest of the game will have to rely solely on its own properties – the Challenge Cup, a modest international calendar and the Championship and League 1 competitions to fund their respective futures. It would be a brave, and in our opinion foolish choice to make.
“Never has there been a greater unity between the Super League clubs, working together to secure a better sport for all. On Friday we expect the proposals to be endorsed and for the sport to enter a new, exciting chapter in its illustrious history. The dangers are there for all to see if they are not.”