Dons to push for second tier

Dons RLFC squad 2010: Carl Hall. Picture: Liz Mockler D5735LM
Dons RLFC squad 2010: Carl Hall. Picture: Liz Mockler D5735LM

Carl Hall is championing the cause for Doncaster to be included in a new 14-team Championship division.

The Dons’ Kiwi co-owner (pictured) met with his contemporaries this week to discuss the RFL’s revoultionary Championship Review document - a proposed overhaul of the professional game that could see the game’s second tier expanded from 11 to 14 teams.

Hall conceded this week that talks were still at a very early stage and admitted that the plans met with a luke-warm response from club officials.

But he told the Free Press that Doncaster, who begin their 2011 Championship One campaign next month, could be elevated from the third to the second tier, should the plans come into force.

Hall said: “As a club we tick all the boxes that are required for entry into the new Championship and I’d like to think that’s where we’ll end up.

“I firmly believe that Doncaster - given the kind of facilites and infra-structure we have in place here - deserve to be at that level.

“But the Championship clubs are a long way from reaching an agreement.

“There’s also talk of two 12-team divisions so we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress.

“Unfortunately I don’t really think there’s enough time to get this in place for the 2012 season.”

The RFL had hoped to ratify the new league structure at a meeting next month and name the 2012 Championship teams in September - but both of those aims now seem unlikely.

Under the new proposals, the Championship could be expanded to a 14-team competition with entry dependent on clubs meeting a series of stringent criteria based on minimum standards.

Clubs from outside the Championship and Championship One have been invited to join the third tier competition, while the RFL say they will consider promotion and relegation between between Championship One and the Conference Leagues from 2014.

The propsed new format alson promises to reward those clubs with recognised player development pathways and run with sound business principles with performance-related central funding payments.

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL’s chief operating officer, said: “I have no doubts that the changes we will ultimately implement will produce a structure that allows every Rugby League club to realise its potential,

“There are indeed some radical changes in there but I have no doubt that these proposals will allow the RFL to maximise the return on its investment and improve the stability of clubs by encouraging stronger business management.”