McManus rejects proposal for 11-team Super League

St Helens Chairman, Eamonn McManus has spoken out against those in Super League who would like to see an eleven team competition next year if Toronto Wolfpack prove unable to return to the competition.

McManus has also said the Wolfpack should be given time to complete a sale to a viable consortium if one can be found.

“It is vital that next year’s competition is a twelve-team competition,” McManus told League Express.

“Eleven teams would be seen as amateurish, unworkable and self indulgent with no commercial merit. It would damage our reputation at a time when Super League Europe’s reputation is already at an all-time low.

“It is time for us to recognise that all twelve clubs, regardless of where they are based, should have equal central distribution. Not doing so is clearly divisive and unworkable.”

McManus also believes it would be disastrous for Super League to turn its back on Toronto, if the Wolfpack can be saved.

“This is being dealt with unnecessary and undue haste,” he insisted.

“A full and open review of the Toronto debacle should first be conducted, which should necessarily include consideration of whether SLE or our governing body could, and should have acted or intervened earlier, as there had been so many clear warning signs in the months and weeks preceding.

“This would have given Toronto a chance to present an alternative business strategy. It is incumbent upon us to give them such an opportunity, regardless of our deep frustrations and doubts. Not to do so would leave us open to an unnecessary challenge. It is the right and proper thing to do within an acceptable time frame.

“If, after all that, Toronto can’t get to the starting blocks, I would then propose a mini-licensing system to get a twelfth club for next year. Let the RFL and (SLE CEO) Robert Elstone come up with the criteria. They could invite some of the more ambitious clubs that are currently outside Super League to make applications.

“St Helens will abstain from any vote pertaining to the inclusion or otherwise of any constituent member club of Super League, or to any other form of sanction to be levelled at any fellow club. There is an unacceptable conflict of interest involved for us, and for any other SLE member club.

“For example, SLE directors were not offered the opportunity to vote on the signing of Israel Folau by Catalans due to perceived conflict of interest: the level of inherent conflict in this instance is much, much higher. We consider that this vote could be rightfully and successfully challenged on that basis.”

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