Chris Hamilton urges caution

Date published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

OLDHAM RL chief Chris Hamilton will call for the brakes to be applied to proposals for the restructuring of Championship and Championship One rugby when clubs in those competitions meet in Leigh today.

The “far-reaching” proposals are contained in a document from the RFL which forms part of a think-tank incorporating a complete revamp of the sport from top to bottom.

“The paper contains proposals on issues of incredible importance and it is our view at Oldham that they cannot be rushed through,” said Hamilton.

“The implications for clubs at Championship and Championship One levels are far reaching and will significantly affect every club outside Super League.”

He said clubs needed more time to consider not only the many and wide-ranging proposals, but also their implications in terms of the future of the sport at part-time professional level.

Among the main proposals are calls for clubs in the 2012 Championship campaign to have a minimum ground capacity of 3,000, including 500 seats, and floodlights that must be of a required standard.

Over the last three years clubs in both Championship divisions have received equal funding from RFL sources, but the call now is for Championship One clubs to get only half the amount allocated to clubs in the higher tier, from 2012.

Most of that funding would depend also on factors peculiar to each club with only one third of the allocation being non-conditional.

One third would depend on how a club shaped up in terms of its business management and financial history and the final third would depend on the club’s record relative to its contribution to the sport via player development.

It is also thought the sport beneath Super League might benefit if the Championship was increased from 11 to 14 teams with Championship One boosted accordingly by the promotion of community clubs providing they could meet minimum standards trequired.

Added Hamilton: “Those are just the headline-hitting proposals. There are lots more contained in a large document, and they need to be studied very carefully indeed.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of lively discussion at today’s meeting, but the one thing we must avoid is to allow these things to be rushed through without full consideration of all the implications and that’s the stand I will be taking on behalf of the Oldham club.”

The Carnegie Challenge Cup will scale new heights when the draw for this season’s third round takes place today 900 feet up at the top of the Emley Moor television mast above Huddersfield.

It will be made by top refereee Richard Silverwood, who handled last year’s final, and a refereeing legend, Billy Thompson, who was in charge of the first of his two Wembley finals 40 years ago.

Into the hat will go 21 Championship and Championship One clubs, including Oldham, plus French club FC Lezignan, the Army and 13 community clubs. Ties will be played on the weekend of March 5 and 6.