Calls for Ottawa and New York to skip League One

Red Bull Arena would be home of the New York-based Rugby League team

Barrow chairman Steven Neale says new clubs Ottawa and New York should be fast-tracked past League One, to help with the league’s sustainability.

The two North American sides are slated to join the third tier in 2021, following in the path of Toronto and Toulouse in recent years.

Their inclusion has posed a problem for the other clubs, with their respective riches turning them in to behemoths in a part-time league where clubs struggle to survive.

Relegated from the Championship at the end of 2019, Barrow will be hoping to make an immediate return.

Writing in his column in The North Western Mail, Neale said: “For League One to be sustainable it needs more teams.

“With Ottawa and New York on the horizon, promising to enter with massive budgets, I’m not sure if that is the solution, as many teams in the division operate with very low income streams.

“Personally, I am a fan of expansion, but maybe there needs a fast-track system. Some sort of hybrid franchise/promotion system to make your way up the pyramid.

“There isn’t an easy solution but we do need a strategy to help the lower league teams.

“Suggestions of funding cuts and a return to the community game present massive risk to our club.

“It is so important that everyone gets behind the club.”

There are 11 clubs in League One this season, meaning just 10 home league games, which Neale says puts a massive strain on the clubs.

Newcastle are likely to be favourites, having invested in a strong squad that lost the Grand Final to Oldham last year.

Doncaster too will be pushing for promotion ahead of them hosting games at the 2021 World Cup, and relegated Rochdale are stabilising under Matt Calland and the prospect of new ownership.

About James Gordon 7167 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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