It was a decision coming for a long time and one that was slowly gaining traction and support and it has now finally happened, with the Super League to feature just 12 teams from 2015, following the approval of changes to the current structure of the competition by clubs at the AGM in Bradford.
With another further option to cut down the number of teams to just 10, clubs ruled it out, with two options involving 12-team competitions to be discussed.
One option would involve 12 Super League sides and a 12-team Championship, before splitting into three groups of eight after Rd 23, with the other a simple promotion and relegation method.
With the finer details still to be settled upon, RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood says it is a good move for the Super League moving forward and one that clubs agreed upon.
“The clubs engaged in a robust and frank debate about the future of their competition and gave their full support to the RFL executive in our search for the most compelling league structure,” said Wood.
“It is apparent that there is a strong and widespread desire to deliver a really exciting league season that provides well-run clubs at us online blackjack all levels of the game with opportunities to flourish, succeed and make progress.
“Our task now is to drill down into the details of a range of issues such as minimum standards, financial distributions and the various mechanics around promotion and relegation.”
With a current licencing system in place, the clubs decided it was time for a change, with all clubs in danger of being relegated if their form is not good enough.
Jon Wilkin, who is the Chairman of the Super League Players’ Association, said the change was needed to improve the structure of the competition.
“When you’ve got a relatively restricted player pool you have to sort a lot of players from overseas,” he said.
“We were probably overstretching our resources and this is an opportunity to make the competition more intense, commercially viable and sustainable – and that’s what’s probably in the players’ best interests in the long term.
“Promotion and relegation is something associated with British sport. Some clubs have a rich history and have been an integral part of the game, so it’s good to have access back to the top flight. It’s a positive step for the game, if tied up with a strong commercial plan.”