A shadow has been cast over Sheffield Eagles’ hopes of a return to the game’s top flight following a rebellion by the Super League clubs.
A summit which was expected to rubber stamp a return to automatic promotion and relegation from next season has been put on hold. It had been expected that the current 14-team Super League would be replaced by two top divisions of 12 with play-offs featuring three leagues of eight at the end of the season.
The Eagles have won the Championship title two years running but because of the controversial franchise system could not move up. Eagles’ chairman Ian Swire said: “We thought it was a fait accompli and then we found out on Monday the Super League clubs wanted a re-think. Why did they wait until now, just before the World Cup, to let their feelings be known? We have no idea what is going to happen.”
In a power-struggle with the RFL governing body the Super League clubs have forced the delay.
It’s a blow to the authority of the RFL and a decision will not now be taken until after the rugby league World Cup which starts at the end of this month leaving only two months before the 2014 season kicks-off.