Rovers earned the right to apply by reaching this year’s Championship Grand Final, where they suffered an agonising extra time defeat against Halifax, but they will instead focus their efforts on applying in 2015.
Club director Andrew McNeil explained: “We feel we can make a massive contribution to Super League. The club has just about reinvented itself over the past few years. We are well on the way to no longer being labeled a ‘small town club’, but an ever growing club that just happens to be in a small town.
“We need to grow our support base. We seem to have a large group of fans who only come to big games. We want them to enjoy the Rovers’ experience on a regular basis and we are working on that. This is the conundrum we face, or it might even be two conundrums. Where do the people who come to go for the rest of the year, and why is there this resistance in general to enjoy an afternoon or evening at Featherstone? People have said to me that Rovers aren’t going to be allowed to progress to the top level because the powers that be don’t want us. This is simply not the case. The message we need to share is one of the enjoyable, passionate and good value experience that watching Rovers is.
“The RFL are not the bad guys. They’ve played a large role in getting us to where we are today, and we believe they will help us further to develop over the next few years.
“We have liaised and co-operated with the RFL extensively. They have been helpful and encouraging. We are not dreamers: we have ambition and we are making that ambition work for us. Having that ambition means we have a responsibility to see it through and that underpins our business. We are doing what we are doing not just because of Super League, but because we believe in making our club the best it can be for its own sake. Then only then will we be ready.
“But until then the people of the local area and beyond, who we are working so hard to reach out to get the message, then a license bid has to be on hold for the immediate future.”
With Batley also ruling out an application, it leaves Barrow, Halifax and Widnes as the three representatives from the Championship battling for a place in the top flight in 2012.