Restructuring back on the agenda

  • Last Updated: January 13 2014, 13:59 GMT

Super League clubs will meet twice this week as attempts are made to resolve the long-running dispute over the governing body's planned re-structure of the domestic game.

Brian Barwick: Will chair this week's crunch meetings
Brian Barwick: Will chair this week's crunch meetings

It has already been decided to scrap the controversial licensing system in favour of a return to automatic promotion and relegation but talks over a new format for both Super League and the Championship were put on hold until after the World Cup after 'rebel' clubs thwarted the Rugby Football League's shake-up plans.

The RFL have proposed a convoluted format for 2014 of two divisions of 12, splitting into three of eight after 23 rounds, but were forced to postpone October's extraordinary general meeting and also failed to get to a vote when six Super League clubs, led by Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan, walked out of a second meeting.

The 14 Super League clubs will re-convene in Huddersfield on Tuesday to discuss the governance of the game, which is a central plank of the argument put forward by Lenagan, and will vote on the league structure at a second meeting in St Helens on Friday.

Only Super League clubs can determine the number of teams in the top flight and, if there is no resolution on Friday, Super League will remain at 14 for 2014 and there will be two clubs promoted and relegated at the end of the season.

It is thought most of the Super League representatives are keen on a a reduction to 12, with Huddersfield and Hull KR known to favour a 10-team division.

Both meetings will be chaired by Brian Barwick, who is chairman of both the RFL and Super League (Europe).

Meanwhile, it is thought the RFL are close to finalising a sponsorship deal for Super League XIX and that an announcement could be made this week.

The top flight has been without a title sponsor since scrapping the controversial "cash-less" deal with Stobart after just one season in 2012.

The new season gets under way on February 7 when Wigan launch their title defence against 2013 table-toppers Huddersfield in a round one fixture brought forward a week to enable the champions to fly out to Australia to prepare for their World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters on February 22.

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