Players’ union backs removal of loop fixtures

James Gordon

Picture by Manuel Blondeau/

IMG’s proposed changes to the rugby league calendar have been welcomed by the players’ union GMB.

As part of their initial recommendations for ‘re-imagining rugby league’, IMG have said loop fixtures and the Magic Weekend will disappear from the Super League calendar.

This will be part of a review of the schedule to help provide peaks around big games during the season.

More focus will be put on the international game, while the most talked about proposal was that to return to a form of licensing for entry to the top flight.

Garreth Carvell, who heads up GMB Rugby League, said: “The pandemic placed huge pressures on the very existence of rugby league and we have worked hard to overcome those pressures whilst still recognising the need to develop clubs and the sport itself. 

“It’s vital that we all recognise and improve the way stakeholders influence key developments in the game by listening to the views of the players.  

“I am delighted to say that their views – that quality should be the driver rather than quantity – have now been agreed.   

“These new proposals are better for players, their safety, career longevity and the game itself.”

“The players’ voice has been listened to.”  

Based on the 2022 calendar, a Super League player could play a total of 34 games – if his club reached both the Challenge Cup final and Super League Grand Final.

That’s before considerations of international games, with England scheduled to have played a minimum of five games by the end of the year, and potentially three more if they progress through the group stages of the World Cup.

Quality over quantity appears to be a key message being driven as part of the seven-point plan.

IMG’s 12-year strategic partnership with the RFL will see them review all areas of the sport.

Clubs are due to meet next Thursday to further discuss the initial recommendations, as they await the full IMG report.

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