Super 8s to be scrapped from 2019, Super League bosses confirm

Drew Darbyshire

The Super 8s will be ditched at the end of this season, with a return to a one-up, one-down structure from 2019.

Super League clubs voted to get rid of the current Super 8s and Middle 8s structure from next year onwards.

But the structure will remain the same this season, with four Super League and Championship teams going head-to-head in the Qualifiers for a spot in the top-flight next year.

Rob Elstone confirmed the structure change at his first press conference as the new Super League chief executive on Tuesday.

He said: “One of the challenges of the Middle 8s is uncertainty.

“That’s not just for clubs and the challenge of investment for them, but it is uncertainty for fans in terms of fixture scheduling and the same applies to the broadcasters.

“I think the broadcasters may well not like that uncertainty as well.”

Elstone was alongside Wigan, St Helens and Warrington owners Ian Lenagan, Eamonn McManus and Simon Morgan at his press conference.

Lenagan revealed that every Super League club wanted to keep promotion and relegation, but in a different way to what it is now.

He said: “We are committed to promotion and relegation and that’s all 12 clubs in Super League.

“But we are not committed to having four clubs in the Middle 8s who are in jeopardy. We are committed to one club being promoted and one being relegated.

“It will be two sets of 11 games (in the regular season) plus six fixtures (in the play-offs) and that is the logical way to do it and the way you get 26 or 28 games out of it plus Magic Weekend.”

McManus added: “After four years, we don’t believe that the Super 8s is the optimum structure which produces the optimum commercial returns for Super League and in turn for the wider game.

“We see tremendous opportunities for Super League and the wider game.”