Ward warns of “disastrous” early promotion call

London Broncos coach Danny Ward insists it is too early for calls to scrap promotion this season.

Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone last week appeared on Sky Sports’ Golden Point podcast stating that he believes promotion and relegation should not take place in 2020 if the season is significantly affected.

But Ward, while agreeing on the relegation issue, says Championship clubs have to be fully considered in a decision that will ultimately be made by the RFL.

Speaking ahead of Boris Johnson’s Sunday night update, Ward said: “Firstly, it would be the right decision to scrap relegation, there’s no doubt about that.

“There’s a lot at stake and if we have a rushed season behind closed doors at neutral venues, taking away that threat of relegation is the right thing to do.

“But the flip side is that for our competition it would be pretty disastrous if promotion got taken away from us.

“We only just got relegated last year from Super League and have invested quite a lot into what we think is a strong squad that would have a chance of bouncing straight back.

“Other teams in the Championship have done likewise, and you’re talking a lot of money when it’s full-time teams trying to get promoted.

“If the season were to be scrapped, then it would have a massive knock-on effect and I don’t know where clubs would go moving forward.

“I don’t know what the answer is in terms of how it would be decided, but I’d be very disappointed if that chance got taken away from us.

“It’s too early and there are so many ifs and buts being spoken about.

“There are some tough decisions that will need to be made by the governing body, but it’s certainly too early to write it off.

“Promotion is what we’ve been planning for and striving to achieve and to take that away would be pretty tough.

“I do worry the longer this goes on about the prospect of Championship and League One being the first to fall in terms of cancelling the season if we have to play behind closed doors.

“As the weeks keep ticking by, then that is the fear.

“But it’s too early to be making any decisions now.

“I hope Championship clubs aren’t forgotten about, because we think we can put forward a strong case for being in Super League in any system.

“I was a massive fan of the franchise system because of what it can create for player development and stability, but I understand that people have strong beliefs about promotion and relegation and what that brings to sport in this country.

“London brought a lot of positivity to Super League last season and it’s beneficial having a club from here in the competition.”

Ward also raised the point that this year’s parachute payment to the Broncos to help cushion their fall from Super League would effectively be wasted if the season were written off.

He added: “We’ve had that parachute payment this year but haven’t had a fair crack at getting promotion with it.

“Next year we’d be down to the same payment as the other Championship clubs and that’s tough with a full-time squad.

“I still think Super League can go to 14 clubs, play each other home and away and have the Magic Weekend.

“And now might be the perfect time for Super League to refresh and rebrand and start to pump the game up again.”