Yates' view: RL can't ignore growing interest from around the globe

Lamport Stadium, Toronto. Picture: SWPix
Lamport Stadium, Toronto. Picture: SWPix
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The Rugby League power brokers will be taking more than a passing interest in Wednesday's meeting of the 15-a-side hierarchy when they are set to discuss the possibility of increasing the size of the Premiership from 12 to 13 clubs.


They are, however,unlikely to meet club demands to make immediate changes which include an annual two-legged play-off but these could kick in at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Premiership clubs have made demands for scrapping promotion and relegation altogether, but a play-off system presents a softer option version of ring-fencing.

If the RFU board rubber stamp the moves in the near future - and not everyone is in favour - financial terms will need to be agreed with the Championship clubs and the RFU Council will have the final say at a meeting in June.

My good friend Ray French, among others, has been banging on his drum for goodness knows how long for Super League to increase from 12 to 14 clubs and like me he sees it as a positive step forward in making the game more attractive from both a playing point of view and helping to bring extra fans fans through the turnstiles.

There is a groundswell of opinion already evident in support of increasing the size of Super League and I've already listened to one of the sport's foremost authorities arguing for two divisions of eight teams, as near as possible on an east-west basis, and then organising a suitable play-off system.

I don't know whether that is a feasible option but anything that will develop the sport in the future can't be ignored, like the growing interest from different parts of the globe.

Catalans Dragons, Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique have already nailed their colours to the mast since 2006 - and there are others keen to follow suit if they get the right kind of backing..


DURING the past 40 years I have been lucky enough to cover Saints in a journalistic capacity for the St Helens Reporter and as editor of the Rugby Leaguer in the 1980s - and witnessed some memorable and magical times.


But my proudest moment came last week when my nine-year-old great grandson, Jacob Davenport, who lives in Keighley, was one of the mascots at the Leeds Rhinos-

Castleford Tigers Super League match which marked the opening of the new Headingley stand
It was great to see him parade around the stadium in a Rhinos' kit - and no doubt other parents, grand parents and great grand parents felt the same as me.

A WORD of praise for my long-time media colleague Stuart Pyke who took a leading role in the Sky TV commentary of the nerve--shredding Super League clash between Saints and Salford Red Devils on Friday night.

Stuart was as cool as a cucumber as he talked viewers through the dramatic last-gasp try and goal which earned St Helens both points.

How he remained so calm considering he is a son of St Helens and at one time was a Saints' director is to be commended.
It's called professionalism.