Licensing not worked, says Fev coach

Featherstone coach Daryl Powell says that licensing hasn’t worked in its current form, and wants to see the return of promotion and relegation.

Rovers won the Championship last season, but were left with little to show for it, as 5th placed Widnes, a team Rovers beat 56-16 and 44-4 in the closing weeks of the season, were elevated to Super League.

There was no doubting that Widnes had met the stipulated criteria set out by the RFL, but Powell wants to see a change.

He said: “I don’t agree with licensing because it’s very difficult to go from spending £300,000 to £1.5m, as Widnes have found this year.

“It’s not worked in its current format. Wakefield, Crusaders and Bradford have all had financial problems, and Widnes have really struggled on the field.

“I think we need to look at rugby union, where they have a much better set-up.”

Promotion is currently hitting the headlines in the other code, as London Welsh are set to be denied promotion to the Premiership as their stadium doesn’t meet the RFU’s criteria for the top flight.

Powell added: “They still have minimum standards, and this is why I think promotion and relegation should be brought back to Super League, but with the minimum standards in place.

“Having the door shut for three years is choking the game outside of Super League.

“The fans are turned off because you don’t have the beauty of promotion and relegation, the likes of what you saw at the end of the football season, we just don’t have that.”

Although Featherstone decided not to apply for a Super League licence for 2012, they are likely to be one of the favourites for promotion in 2015.

The last team to be promoted to Super League through the traditional method was Castleford in 2007, after they beat Widnes in the National League 1 Grand Final.

Salford, who relegated from the top flight that year, and Celtic Crusaders were given licences for the 2009 season, although they were the top two clubs in the league last season, with the City Reds beating the Welsh club in the 2008 Grand Final at Warrington.

Crusaders were replaced at the end of 2011 by Widnes, who finished 6th, 4th, 5th and 5th in the four seasons since that 2007 Grand Final defeat by Castleford, but qualified to apply for a Super League licence courtesy of their 2009 Northern Rail Cup final win.

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