Re-unification of Super League and RFL still not completed

James Gordon

The proposed re-alignment of Super League with the RFL is still “by no means completed” according to acting top flight chairman Ken Davy.

In a positive New Year’s address, Davy looked ahead to a year of excitement and growth for 2022, highlighting the new broadcast deal with Channel 4.

But the reference to the re-alignment highlights that discussions, which have been going on for several months, are still way off completion.

CONTEXT: Super League and RFL move closer to re-alignment

Davy said: “The discussions between Super League and the RFL, whilst by no means completed, still offer the exciting prospect of a reunification of the whole of our sport within the coming months.

“Reunification will create an added impetus for the benefit of every aspect of our game, and a host of opportunities at every level, with the Betfred Super League as its pinnacle.

“Super League, its clubs, along with the sport of Rugby League and its supporters, have a host of reasons to enter the new year with an increased sense of optimism.

“I believe that 2022 is going to be the catalyst for the growth and success of our great game.

“The challenges of the last two years have been significant, but we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm. At this point I’d like to give thanks and gratitude once again to all NHS and keyworkers for their continued efforts.

“The coming year will not be without its challenges; however, I am delighted to say that my optimism for Super League’s future is shared by myself and every one of our 12 clubs.

“Our focus is to rise above the ongoing issues of Covid-19, and support our incredible athletes, as they provide the raw excitement of Super League, which we and all our supporters, want to see.

“We all know that nothing beats the enjoyment of ‘being at a match’ and I know that in 2022, every Super League club, and every player, is going to be determined to deliver that excitement and entertainment to fans at every game.

“The mouth-watering prospect of the new Betfred Super League season is now only six weeks away, and I look forward to sharing in its success with you all.”

TOGETHER: RFL chief Ralph Rimmer highlights benefits of unified game

RFL and Super League re-alignment

The departure of Robert Elstone in March was followed by talk of Super League re-uniting with the governing body, from which it split in 2018.

The RFL have led rugby league’s response to the COVID pandemic, securing significant funding and financial support from their lobbying of the government.

Super League clubs are still keen to retain an element of control over their competition.

A new commercial rugby league body has been proposed to handle all of rugby league’s assets and rights, such as broadcast and sponsorship.

But it remains unclear just how the bridges between the two parties are going to be resolved.

Back in October, RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer admitted that while conversations were ongoing, a resolution was still in the distance.

He even conceded that there was still a chance that the re-alignment may not happen, though Davy’s comments appear to alleviate that concern.

MORE: Editor’s column: Little to report from Ralph Rimmer’s return