How Leigh won their place in Super League

Leigh have been handed a place in Super League next season after emerging as the unanimous choice of an independent seven-person panel.

The 12th and final place in the competition was left vacant by Toronto Wolfpack’s unsuccessful bid to re-join last month, having resigned in July citing financial concerns.

Leigh beat five rivals – Toulouse, London, Bradford, York and Featherstone – to get the nod, and here the PA news agency sifts through the implications.

Why did Leigh win the vote?

With average crowds in the Championship in excess of 3,000, a 10-year-old, 12,000-capacity stadium at Leigh Sports Village, and Super League experience as recently as 2017, Leigh were most likely seen as the safest bet among the six remaining contenders.

Who else was in the running?

Toulouse might ordinarily have been seen as favourites, but ongoing coronavirus fears likely counted against them. Bradford brought financial baggage, London a lack of certainty over a home stadium, while York and Featherstone were always regarded as outside bets.

Are Leigh likely to survive in the top flight?

Both Leigh’s most recent sojourns in Super League have ended after a single season. They face a race against time to avoid a similar fate this time around, but their infrastructure and their location in the game’s heartland should help their cause.

What about those who missed out?

Along with Leigh, both Toulouse and Featherstone boasted 100% records when this year’s season was prematurely concluded, and will be regarded as favourites to reach the play-offs in 2021. London and Bradford have already refocused on winning promotion, while York are preparing to move to a brand new 8,000-capacity stadium next year.

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  1. Beggars belief to be honest. In an area already saturated with Super League clubs, utterly anonymous to anyone outside Rugby League circles. Insular, risk averse, backward looking, sometimes I wonder if those running the sport are paid agents of the RFU determined to keep the sport confined to specific geographical locations. What’s next, everyone is required to wear clogs, a flat hat, have a whippet on a string in one hand, and a pint of mild in the other?

    • H Eric, The board at Leigh produced a 420 page document which left no stone unturned. It provided evidence presented in a very professional manner which addressed every aspect of the criteria…now if other clubs presented theirs on the back of a fag packet, that is not Leighs fault. The panel had series of criteria to judge against and the Leigh proposal laid these out very clearly.. Professional club

  2. So what should they do invite another Canada club in or even a America one, after what’s just happened I wouldn’t put my money there again,
    yes keep it local, grass roots get the young one’s into the game on and off the pitch.
    Right choice for me.

  3. Well done Leigh! I prefer another English club with some history in the game. Cats are full of Aussies and are consistently the most penalised team in RL, rightly so. Another such French team would have been wrong. Bradford had their chances. The only team I feel for us Featherstone.

  4. The problem with Toronto apparently was it’s over reliance on the patronage of one man. Then we get Leigh 30% of Toronto’s gates, able to access central funding and totally reliant on one man, beggers belief.
    Another team that no one will watch on TV which will lead to ever smaller funding from that source. I’ve said it before Rugby League the new speedway.

    • I agree…totally appalling. Small minded thinking. Shame on all involved. I’m fed up with this blinkered non exapantionist perspective…let our great game slowly die in the north of England…that’s what the governing body has voted for. I shall be voting in protest and not be going to any games next year.

  5. I’m appalled by such a blinkered decision. Shame on all involved in it. So blinkered and small minded.
    I am so disgusted that I am giving up my love of the game when those in charge are so minded to stifle expansion. OK…let rugby league be played in the northern counties of England and slowly die there. I for onbe will be voting with my nfeet and wallet…I will not be supporting a regime that is so steeped in dinasaur thinking…this was a chance to expand for God’s sake. It was appalling thatbTaronto were excluded…to now close the door to Toulouse is unacceptable. Shame on you all.

  6. Expansion of rugby league?tried how many times and in how many areas?kent,nottingham,mansfield,wales,london,canada?success?none.

  7. As the song goes ‘Super League, you’re having a laugh’
    Not one extra supporter will be created by this decision.
    Not one extra child will pick up a ball and say I want to play league.
    Why are we bothering with a world cup when all we seem bothered with is Yorks v Lancs.
    Contraction-ism is the term applicable to this decision
    The best Leigh can ever hope for is to hang on.
    40,000 people live in Leigh. The ground is too big, they have over achieved already.

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