Bulldogs chairman has say on restructure proposal

Batley Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas
Batley Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas

Batley Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas has spoken out on proposals to restructure rugby league.

Mr Nicholas, who has been at the helm of Batley for 20 years, has rejected proposals which would see the current Super Eights stage of the competition scrapped in favour of a straight one up one down structure between the Championship and Super League.

Mr Nicholas says Batley would prefer the current system, which sees the top four clubs in the Championship play against the bottom four sides in Super League in the Super Eights, to remain in place, although he would be prepared to compromise.

In a statement, Mr Nicholas said; “Our initial stance is that we believe the present Super 8s should be maintained as the Middle 8s in particular have been a competition that has created much interest and are a mechanism that ensures any club from the Championship that does manage to be promoted can compete against those Super League clubs in the Middle 8s and this season it appears even more competitive.

“Clearly no system designed to achieve a smooth and effective process of relegation and promotion with full time and part time clubs is perfect but we believe so far it has been successful and there has been no detailed analysis conducted to look at it in a proper dispassionate manner.

“We have taken on board that SL clubs have a different opinion and their views are important such that both sides need to consider the others position and seek a whole game solution that we can move forward with.

“It has been disappointing that from the Council meeting in December 2017 when issues of discontent were first raised we have only had two meetings between Super League and Championship to try to resolve issues and we have found this very frustrating. We need to try to resolve issues for the good of our sport.”

Mr Nicholas has also commented on proposals to alter the money Championship clubs receive as part of a deal with Sky TV to screen live Super League games.

Mr Nicholas added: “At the moment out of the Sky TV contract monies the Championship receive 12.5% of monies as do the RFL. The proposal is that if any new TV contract remains at the same amount we receive £1m less than now as do the RFL.

“If the monies increase we still receive £1m less so we do not benefit but if the monies decrease then whatever that reduction may be it is all deducted from our already reduced monies.

“We do not see that as fair and we also see it as a financial disaster for us. The same applies to RFL monies and so we cannot see how that can ensure the sport is governed and the community game and development work can possibly prosper.

“We appreciate that Super League needs to prosper and be funded but so does the whole sport. Our alternative proposal is that both ourselves and indeed the RFL continue to receive 12.5% of any TV contract monies to fund the game outside SL.”