HULL KR chief executive Paul Lakin thinks that only four Super League clubs will be given a Grade A license by IMG when the licenses are handed out ahead of the company’s reimagining of the sport.
Those that will be given a Grade A license will be safe from relegation with those plans causing consternation amongst a number of fans.
However, Lakin believes that ambition will help Hull KR get there in the near future.
“In the next 12 months there will be announcements of three levels of license, ABC,” Lakin said at the RSG Fans Forum via the Hull KR website.
“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. There are a number of tough criteria to earn this status, but it’s clear what our ambition is as a club moving forward.
“It’s closely aligned to the NRL model, but it does mean any team that has ambition has a clear defined set of criteria to aim for, and I believe we really are heading in the right direction.”
Lakin also named the two Championship clubs that he believes could earn promotion to Super League.
“I haven’t seen the criteria, but you can only assume it considers factors across all areas of the club. I think York and Newcastle have a good chance if you consider their facilities, but it will be interesting to see.
“I think the thinking is right, IMG are here for 12 years, they’re not looking to flip it, but rather grow the game and fully review the commercials, particularly the broadcast deals which have been declining over a number of years.
“The fact that IMG are on board should hopefully lead to more clubs achieving investment into their own clubs.”
It certainly will be an interesting number of years!