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Oldham backing for RL changes

Date published: 11 February 2014

SWEEPING changes intended to revolutionise pro rugby league have received the Oldham club’s unqualified support.

In the short term it will mean the only club promoted from Championship One at the end of this season will be the winners of a top-five play-off. Oldham have suffered heart-breaking defeats in five such finals in the last seven years.

But club bosses are adamant the far-reaching changes will benefit the game as a whole - and that alterations to this year's Championship One format must be regarded as part of a much bigger picture.

This season there remain 14 teams in Super League, 14 in the Championship and nine in Championship One — 37 in all. In 2015, there will be 12 teams in Super League, 12 in the Championship and 13 in Championship One.

To achieve that, two clubs will be relegated from Super League at the end of this season and five from the Championship. One club will be promoted from Championship One.

The return of promotion and relegation between all three divisions from 2015 is seen as a major breakthrough in the restoration of public confidence in the sport.

Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton said: “We fully support the changes. They provide a pathway right through from the bottom of Championship One to the top of Super League, which has to be good for the whole of the game.

“In terms of Championship One it will be harder this year because only one team is going up, but I was one of those who campaigned for promotion and relegation between Championship and Super League and I’m sure most people will regard that as good news.”

The nine clubs competing in Championship One for the one promotion spot on grand final day are Oldham, Gateshead, Gloucester, Hemel Stags, Hunslet, London Skolars, Oxford, South Wales and York.

Oldham start their 20-game programme on March 2.

Scott Naylor’s men have one more warm-up game, against Leigh Centurions at Whitebank on Saturday (2.30pm).


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