Wood excited by Championship plans

Date published: Monday, September 5, 2011

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood has expressed his thanks to the Co-operative Championship clubs for their continued positive contribution to the ongoing strategic review of the competitions immediately below Super League level.
The RFL is close to finalising the format of the Championships for both 2012 and the period from 2013 onwards, when up to four new clubs are set to join the semi-professional ranks in an exciting new structure.
Consultation with the clubs has been taking place for over a year and though uncertainty surrounding the future of the displaced Super League club Crusaders has led to a delay in the make-up of the Championships next season, Wood has complete confidence in the planned structures.
“I would like to place on record my thanks to all the clubs who have made a full and frank contribution to what has been a very positive review process,” said Wood.
“All the principles and structures for the Championships post-2012 have already been agreed and there are some very exciting announcements coming over the next 12 months.
“There is understandably some frustration among supporters about membership of the Championship and Championship One in 2012 and I can assure them that the RFL is working in tandem with all the clubs to resolve this issue.”
Wood confirmed that the RFL is negotiating with Premier Sports about a broadcast arrangement that would see Co-operative Championship and Northern Rail Cup matches screened live on the satellite channel but described reports that a deal has already been struck as “premature.”
“We have been speaking to Premier Sports as well as other broadcasters and I am confident the Championships and Northern Rail Cup will have a presence on television next season.
“In light of the high quality of the action we have seen in both competitions this season, the interest in televising Championship and Northern Rail Cup matches is by no means surprising.
“I am sure the excitement will continue this weekend in the final rounds of the regular season and on through what I expect will be a memorable play-offs and Grand Final series.”