Structure changes for 2019 not doable, says club chief

Outspoken Bradford chairman Andrew Chalmers says the league structure should not be changed for 2019.

The long-running saga over the sport’s future may finally be seeing some sort of solution in the not too distant future, with Super League chief Robert Elstone saying an announcement could be made in the next few weeks.

But given that Elstone has already been part of a media announcement that prematurely announced that the Super 8s would be scrapped, there remains question marks over what form 2019 will take with less than six weeks to go until the end of the current season.

Chalmers told the Bulls’ official website: “The Super League clubs are hard at it trying to construct a calendar for next season. Up until this week they had categorically refused to meet with the Championship and League 1 Advisory Group, leaving it to the RFL, who by the way are responsible for all members, not just the Championship and League 1 clubs.

“The current attempted power grab is such a shame for our sport and so inappropriate. Anyone who knows anything about rugby league, particularly in this country knows it was borne out of a struggle against injustice and prejudice.  This sport was built upon unity, looking after the whole family and standing together shoulder to shoulder.

“Cutting clubs adrift, taking money from them or pulling the drawbridge up are simply against the values of our sport. Lose sight of your values and you quickly lose your identity.

“I have been an outspoken critic of the behaviour of some Super League Chairmen. They have been arrogant and elite and attempted to bully through what is in their best interests.

“At the end of the day the sport has to pull together but you cannot let the bullies succeed. It is true in life generally.

“The point is to decide what you want the sport to look like in 10 years’ time, and build towards it. When you know what it is, go out and sell it.

“But whatever might happen, do not simply change the rules in isolation for the benefit of a handful of poorly run Super League clubs.

“Such crucial decisions must be for the good of the entire sport. Whatever your point of view, one thing is certain.

“Change for 2019 even if desired is simply not doable.”

Chalmers has backed a move to 14 clubs in Super League, with a two up two down promotion and relegation, and exemptions from relegation to clubs in strategic markets.

He also made calls for Catalans and Toulouse to cover the expenses of visiting teams, as is the case with Toronto Wolfpack.

A briefing is due to be held this Wednesday to discuss the future of the game.

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