Championship clubs on red alert after stadium warnings

Widnes could one of several clubs pushing for a Super League place in 2011 after the RFL issued letters to five clubs warning them of their responsibilites of being a licence holder.

St Helens, Celtic Crusaders, Wakefield, Castleford and Salford were all sent notices requesting that they advance with their plans to move stadiums or face exclusion in the next round of licences.

The RFL have also reaffirmed their position that one Championship club is guarenteed entry for the licences beginning 2012.

The RFL’s Director of Development, Gary Tasker said: “Every Super League clubs need to be aware that their presence in the competition is under intense scrutiny and that the progress made by Co-operative Championship clubs is a very real threat.

“The RFL clubs’ support programme is working closely with all clubs to help them strengthen their licence application but the clubs also have to show a willingness and an ability to help themselves.

Super League licensing is starting to increase standards across the board and the RFL is fully committed to ensuring that process does not slow.

“We have seen a rise in the unpredictability of outcome of engage Super League matches in 2009, the numbers of club-trained players is also increasing and the security that comes with a three-year licence, together with the adoption of sound business practises, is helping the clubs operate successfully in difficult economic conditions.”

Of the five clubs warned only Castleford have released a statement reaffirming their position, but Tasker warned that they all have a responsibility to help themselves.

“Five clubs put forward their intention to build new stadiums, with a number creating a lot of publicity.  Some clubs are at a more advanced stage of the planning process than others so we felt that, a year on from awarding the licences, it was appropriate to remind all the clubs concerned of their commitment to upgrade their current facility or move to a new stadium and the potential implications any failure to do so may have on their next licence application.”

The RFL has already started planning for the next licence period assisting both Super League and Championship clubs to agree minimum standards in five key areas: Business Management, Facilities, Finance, Commercial/Marketing/Community and Playing Strength/Performance.

Tasker added: “Clubs need to be aware that we are raising the bar for the next licence period and showcasing the Super League competition in high quality, 21st Century stadium facilities remains a key strategic objective.”

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