Rugby League - Players reject Super League split

Players have voted overwhelmingly to reject the Rugby Football League's radical plan to split a two-division Super League into three leagues of eight during the season.

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Rugby League - Players reject Super League split
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Just seven players voted for the controversial 2x12; 3x8 proposal by the RFL

The proposal is one of three options put forward by the RFL for a restructuring of the domestic competition from 2015. In a poll commissioned by the Super League players association, 1eague3, the players gave a firm thumbs down to the RFL's favoured option, arguing for a more simple formula.

Of the 158 players who responded to the survey, 146 voted for a 12-team Super League - a reduction of two teams - with one team to be promoted and one relegated. Just seven players voted for the controversial 2x12; 3x8 proposal.

"I am grateful to the RFL for consulting with 1eagu3, both in terms of information and in face-to-face briefings," 1eagu3 chief executive Ernie Benbow said. "It is hoped that the consultation is proper, effective and meaningful and not lip service to the required consultative process.

"We have consulted our members who have voted in numbers with a clear and unequivocal message. Simplicity is the way forward. No other major league opts for such complexity, so why rugby league?

"Rugby league has a habit of tinkering with issues. It continually tinkers with its rules/laws regularly causing confusion to the watching public. Simplicity and stability are key to success and not change for the sake of change."

Benbow points out that the 2x12; 3x8 plan was tried, tested and rejected by the Swiss Football Association and recently rejected as an option by the Scottish FA.

The RFL and its clubs are currently in discussions over the structure of the game, with the current licensing system almost certain to be scrapped at the end of next year. The third option is a two-division structure of 10 teams. A vote is likely to be taken in August following more consultation and debate.

St Helens and England forward Jon Wilkin, who is chairman of 1eagu3, said: "All players acknowledge the need for the game to become more productive commercially and, for that to happen, I think it's safe to assume there is a game-wide acknowledgment that an element of change is required.

"Changing the structure is, however, just one small part of the puzzle and needs to fall in line with an understanding of the fantastic value of the product the players deliver and also how to extract as much commercially from this great product as we can to drive the game forward at all levels."

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