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Seven Betfred Super League clubs have been awarded Grade A status in the indicative phase of the new club grading process which effectively makes them immune from relegation from the start of the 2025 season.
The grades have been introduced as part of a strategy between Rugby League Commercial and sports media giants IMG to “reimagine” the sport and award points for five key factors including support base, performance, finances, facilities and community integration.
The indicative stage of the process gives clubs the chance to make improvements prior to the start of the 2025 season, at which point the identity of the 12 Super League clubs will be determined by the rankings, rather than solely next season’s on-field success.
The seven clubs given Grade A licences – which come with the assurance they cannot be relegated – are Leeds, who lead the way with a score of 17.49 out of the maximum available 20, Wigan, St Helens, Catalans Dragons, Warrington, Hull KR and Hull FC.
Based on the current rankings, Toulouse and Wakefield, who stand 10th and 11th respectively, would be promoted back into Super League at the expense of 13th-placed Castleford and newly-promoted London Broncos.
Castleford have indicated they intend to appeal their indicative grade based on confusion over a point relating to finance, which if accepted would move them into the top 12 at the expense of Challenge Cup winners Leigh Leopards.
The rankings are also a huge blow to London Broncos, who were promoted back to the top flight this month but rank a lowly 24th, meaning they are almost certain to be demoted at the end of next season, irrespective of their on-pitch performance.
RFL chief executive Tony Sutton said: “Rugby League embarked on a bold journey with the launch of the strategic partnership with IMG in May 2022, and 18 months into that journey, the publication of these indicative club gradings is a highly significant step.”
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