Hunslet RLFC won't support IMG 'reimagining rugby league' plan

Hunslet RLFC have decided not to vote in favour of plans for an overhaul of rugby league in this country.
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The Betfred League One club confirmed they won’t back sports marketing company IMG’s ‘reimagining rugby league’ proposals at today’s (Wednesday’s) RL Council meeting in Huddersfield.

The Parksiders, the sport’s only professional supporter-owned club, say there was no support for IMG’s plans at an internal meeting on Tuesday.

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Hunslet say one of their concerns is that the RFL has “so far declined to submit its internally-published booklet in which full details of IMG’s plans and proposals are contained”.

Hunslet's South Leeds Stadium. Picture by Chris Mangnall/'s South Leeds Stadium. Picture by Chris Mangnall/
Hunslet's South Leeds Stadium. Picture by Chris Mangnall/

A press release from the club confirmed: “Hunslet are therefore among those who do not feel able to rationally support an initiative into which they would be `voting blind’.

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“In addition, there are major concerns regarding what has actually been ascertained so far. IMG’s plans concern off-field matters, several of which Hunslet accept need to be addressed.

"But while the Parksiders, as a Betfred League One outfit, are not currently directly affected by a key aspect – that promotion from the Championship to Super League would not be solely dependent on winning the Championship Grand Final – that factor, it is felt, is not for the benefit of the sport as a whole. Nor, indeed, would it be for any spectator sport.”

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The club’s release added: “Clubs playing in a Championship Grand Final could quite feasibly go into the game aware that a side lower down the table had already secured the Super League berth through amassing more rating points in the club grading system, which relates to such as ground suitability and catchment area.

“Hunslet already have direct experience of the negative impact of being denied promotion through issues other than achievements by players and coaches, their dreams of Super League membership being thwarted, in the aftermath of their Grand Final victory in 1999, on the basis that their South Leeds Stadium wasn’t deemed suitable for the top flight.

“Home attendances subsequently plummeted from an average of around 2,000 to 500 as supporters, disillusioned with rugby league, deserted in droves.”