Featherstone backing promotion return

Featherstone are backing the return of promotion and relegation, but are unaware of any opportunity to join Super League in 2013.

The current Championship holders, who have won the league leaders’ shield for the past three seasons, are heading a list of clubs vying to join the top flight when the next licensing review comes around, currently slated for 2014 ahead of the 2015 season.

However, a review of the game, undertaken by Maurice Watkins, has put a return to promotion and relegation back on the agenda, and it is something that Rovers CEO Craig Poskitt would like to see.

Poskitt said: “Our preference is for promotion and relegation to return, and if it does, we’re ready for that.

“We’ve come top of the league for the past three seasons, and we will strive to continue to do that, alongside our plans for a licence application.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if promotion and relegation makes a return before 2015, certainly that would make sense.”

Bradford’s administration and subsequent takeover has raised questions over the licensing system, and reports have suggested that the Bulls may have to compete with the likes of Featherstone, Leigh and Halifax, in a mini-round of licensing to earn their place in Super League for 2013.

But Poskitt says Rovers aren’t aware of any opportunity for them to move up ahead of next season.

Poskitt added: “It’s not something we’ve been spoken to about. We’re still working towards our 2-3 year plan ahead of the next licensing window, and we’re well ahead of schedule with that. From our point of view, all we can do is look after ourselves.

“I think the current situation does question the integrity of the licensing system, and we back the findings of the recent Watkins review.

“We certainly would want to step up if the opportunity arose, and we would definitely be ready, but we’ve got to take care of ourselves. We wouldn’t want to get involved in a mini-licensing round if it was simply a goodwill exercise to allow Bradford to retain their place without too much fuss, The promotion and relegation scenario fits much better and as a club we would be proud to be part of SL on merit, if this exercise had previously been in place we would already be in SL”

Regardless of the return of promotion, Featherstone have put themselves in to pole position for a licence thanks to some solid work off the pitch in recent months, which has included progress both commercially and with their stadium, which is being upgraded to improve their customer experience.

Poskitt arrived at the club in March, having previously worked at Castleford, and he reckons they are more than six months ahead of schedule due to the hard work of everyone at the club.

They received final planning permission for their ground improvements, which involved the installation of two stands bought from Scarborough FC’s old McCain’s Stadium home, on August 24th, and work started four days later, and they could now be completed in time for the 2013 season.

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