Rugby league is set for a major new direction following the takeover of IMG.
A 12-year plan was put in place by the entertainment company in a bid to ‘reimagine’ the sport of rugby league.
Now, IMG’s plans have been put to the Rugby Football League’s membership at the Rugby League Council this afternoon.
Those members were said to be in major support of the principles and direction of the recommendations.
Now, the sport’s executive will now work with IMG to scope out the details of the recommendations which will involve appropriate consultation with clubs and other stakeholders.
One major aspect of the changes involved promotion and relegation and how clubs will assessed as being ‘Category A’ or ‘Category B’.
Participation in the top tier will be based on a range of on and off field measures which will be delivered through a club grading system with the aim of supporting financial sustainability and encouraging investment into clubs.
‘Category A’ clubs will be guaranteed a place in the top tier whilst ‘Category B’ clubs will be re-assessed annually with the highest-ranking clubs occupying the remaining places in Super League.
It has also been revealed just when those changes approved will come into fruition.
It is envisaged that grading will take place on an illustrative basis at the end of the 2023 season, with changes to the competition structure delayed until 2025.
That means that it won’t be another two full seasons until the changes actually make their way into the sport.
That being said, promotion and relegation will continue between the second and third tiers with the current Championship bing increasingly filled with strong Category B Clubs.
And, in an attempt to improve the domestic competition, participation of clubs outside of the UK will be capped with additional standards to support domestic growth.