Key changes set to be made to IMG’s rugby league grading criteria and minimum standards

KEY changes are set to be made to IMG’s rugby league grading criteria as well as the minimum standards when clubs meet next Wednesday.

League Express understands that, following consultation with all 36 professional rugby league clubs, changes will be put towards the Rugby Football League, RL Commercial and IMG on April 5th after two previous consultations saw a number of points raised about IMG’s initial plan.

That plan was delivered in front of all 36 professional clubs at Huddersfield Giants’ John Smith’s Stadium last month, with clubs able to register for a session with all three bodies and send in queries in advance.

Of course, the vote of all RFL council members will still take place on April 19th as IMG attempts to pass through its proposals to ‘re-imagine’ rugby league.

Amongst the proposed changes, academies has been a big focal point of many clubs with little reference made to the important aspect in IMG’s previous plans.

League Express understands that much more emphasis will be placed on academy set-ups in the minimum standards, especially with this being the essential future of rugby league.

There remains a core group of opposition to IMG’s plans with Keighley Cougars, Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs chiefs being the most outspoken.

Just last week, Rovers chief executive Martin Vickers told League Express: “We were disappointed with the latest iteration of the model. We had some clear messages previously that whilst B category teams were in Super League, B clubs in the Championship could get promoted,” Vickers said.

“It is now that you have to be a B plus a score. That means it is all skewed towards a a current top 12 club so there is no way you can beat the bottom end of Super League on performance even if they are bottom of the league because they will be 12th out of 36 as opposed to our 13th.

“So we were disappointed. We felt there was a tweak in the rules that seemed to be skewed in favour of the bottom end of Super League who in every way have had their chance.”