Rugby league said to take IMG’s ranking criteria as a ‘rear kick’
The RUGBY league has been given the “kick” it needs after clubs learned what will decide their crucial rankings.
But while a Grade A score guarantees a place in the Super League, clubs below the top flight face uncertainty over how the composition of these competitions will be decided.
Strategic partner IMG has unveiled its five “pillars” which will score 20 on all sides on Thursday – fandom, performance, finance, stadium and watershed.
While there are more usual parts like the 36 ranking of how well they’ve done in the league over three seasons and the better the pitch the better the score, there are less likely ones.
Having a big screen and electronic advertising earns a quarter point between them. Theoretically, this could prove the difference between one club and another.
Social media – how many subscribers, website visits and engagements – also counts as one and a half.
However, Andy Mazey – chairman of League One’s Rochdale Hornets – believes the criteria, with clubs scoring 15 or more Grade A’s and seven-and-a-half or more Grade B’s, is what the sport needs.
He will, however, press IMG over his plans for the Championship and Ligue 1.
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Mazey told SunSport: “It’s the back kick that we needed as a sport collectively.
“It gives everyone a chance. I told IMG during a consulting session, “Don’t let anyone drift away, don’t fire anyone.” It is important that everyone has a framework for developing a club.
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“That’s what he does, he gives everyone that opportunity. Those who have rested on their laurels or put other things ahead of others now need to grow and develop a club fairly quickly.
“I wear two hats – the fan hat and the Rochdale hat – and I’m not negative towards them. He gives a clear and defined set of criteria and he sets a standard that he tries to get everyone to.
“But what happens to the league was not clearly defined and I will ask. I think there is a chance that our club will score higher than the existing leagues based on the criteria.
“It’s something I want to understand, it’s a crucial point that I will raise.”
Rochdale will score well on the recruitment criteria being the only club in a borough of 230,000, while Wigan and Leigh are in the same council area, as are Wakefield, Castleford and Featherstone.
And Mazey thinks clubs should seek to ensure that advertising or a big screen doesn’t prove the difference between the level they are in,
He added: “If it came down to percentage or points, something that you might consider trivial might prove the difference, but in terms of standards of conduct, it’s all about TV and broadcasting.
“In theory, your stadium should be broadcast-ready, regardless of your level.”
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