Rugby league chiefs explain how IMG’s plans are different to licensing

SUPER LEAGUE, the Championship and League One are set for a new era under IMG’s plans to ‘re-imagine’ the sport of rugby league.

In an 88% majority vote, the plans – that will focus on five areas of fandom, finance, performance, facilities and community – were passed at the home of Huddersfield Giants today.

Now the chief executive of the RFL, Tony Sutton, and the managing director of RL Commercial, Rhodri Jones, spoke to the media after the proposals were passed, happy at the large majority the plans were given.

“We are satisfied league by league and across all RFL members and community it was received well,” Sutton said.

“Our intent from 9 March has been to ensure that it was well informed and this is a reflection of that and the work that we have done.

“I think it was important for all of us that it was a strong majority, it’s a big development for the game, a very positive development for the game and we felt it was important that it was well supported.”

Moving forward, clubs will be given a whole host of ways to keep their understanding of the plans growing.

“There will be a full user handbook guide to clubs, visits to grade their potential and the area which they might choose to develop,” Sutton continued.

“There will be illustrative grading at the end of 2023 and again at the end of 2024. Our aim is to give clubs three times to show what their grade they are.

“The clubs have been really engaged throughout the consultation process not just around grading but recommendations about french rugby league going forward.

“We have to be really clear with what the system. We have focused heavily on people who vote today that they have understood it. Part of our process now is that we will have a wider stakeholder understanding.

“RFL members, not everyone will love it but we need to make sure people understand it.”

Sutton and Jones also went further, describing how the new system is not another licensing plan.

“It’s also about its current state, I was at Hull FC during licensing and I wrote the business plans. Then, you could have said ‘I have planning for this’ but not actually do anything. This is current state and measured every year which makes it different,” Sutton said.

Meanwhile, Jones said: “This is live, licensing was a three year model and you could write a business plan, get accepted into Super League for the next three years but then not do anything with that business plan.

“This will get done on an annual basis, if you are into changing or improving then your score will be reflected. You can actually see on a month by month basis how you will track it as it’s live.”