Rugby League’s goal of creating a fully joined up season structure for the whole sport has taken a significant step forward with the unveiling of a proposed new framework for the community game.
The proposed pyramid structure would see two tiers of the community game in the form of National Leagues and Regional/Local Leagues providing the foundations for the Championships and Super League.
“This is very important for Rugby League because for the first time everyone would have a clear idea of what the pyramid for the community game looks like,” said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.
“It’s a logical progression that would provide high quality competition for Rugby League players of all standards and abilities and allow everyone to drive the game forward towards the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and beyond.
“This is a significant juncture in the sport’s development and I am sure all the community clubs will engage in the upcoming consultation process to ensure that players at all levels of Rugby League can be the best they can be.”
The third tier of the structure below Super League and the Championships, the National Leagues, will be split geographically into North and South regions into which nine regional leagues will feed. This level will consist of entirely summer based competitions.
Varying levels of movement between the individual tiers, be it through licensing or promotion and relegation, will be encouraged.
In addition, the fourth tier, the regional and local leagues, will be predominantly summer based but will also include winter competitions that will continue to be administered through the present arrangements.
All clubs will be assessed across a range of criteria to ensure they meet minimum standards which relate to the tier in which they operate.
For example, all Super League clubs must meet the stringent licensing criteria to stay at the top of Rugby League pyramid whilst lower down in the regional leagues, clubs will be graded on criteria including the enclosure of their pitch, on-site dressing room provision and the achievement of Clubmark status.
The Community Board unanimously agreed to support proposals for a four-tiered structure at a meeting on September 24 which was chaired by RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.
This structure which embraces both the professional and community levels of the game is designed to achieve more attendances, viewers, participants and income for the whole sport.
The proposed new season structure has been presented to community club and league officials at a series of meetings.
There will now follow a period of formal consultation with the whole community game which will give everyone the chance to have their say and feedback on the proposal. Full details regarding this consultation process will be announced shortly.
The proposed new season structure would be implemented no earlier than March 2012.
Click on this link http://www.therfl.co.uk/uploads/7473.jpg to see the proposed community game season structure.