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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 19:05 GMT
Eighteen 'want Super League spot'
Rugby League
The Rugby Football League expects 18 applications for up to 14 three-year Super League licences in a franchise system that will be introduced in 2009.

Clubs have until the end of January to make applications, with Toulouse and Celtic Crusaders definite bidders.

Salford, who were relegated this year, and Widnes are also certain to be among the National League applicants.

Final decisions will be made in June or July, with an expansion from 12 clubs dependent on an increase in TV revenue.

The current Sky contract expires in 12 months but RFL executive chairman Richard Lewis sounded optimistic, saying "I think we will deliver 14 clubs."

Promotion and relegation will not apply in 2008 but a National League team is guaranteed a Super League licence when they next come up for review in 2012.

This would either be at the expense of a relegated team or as a result of further expansion.

Three grades of membership are proposed for existing Super League clubs, based on both off and on the field criteria.

Assessments will be completed and made public next year, with the bottom tier teams in danger of relegation.

606: DEBATE

The RFL's new chief executive Nigel Wood said that in four years' time, Super League will be opened up to the most successful National League club and that no limit would be imposed on the number of teams in the top flight.

To qualify for promotion, a club must have contested at least one National League Grand Final in the previous three-year period, and then meet the normal criteria for Super League membership.

There are also plans to increase prize money for the National League champions to provide a further incentive for clubs outside the elite.



SEE ALSO
Crusaders tipped for Super League
27 Sep 07 |  Rugby League
Toulouse eye Super League talks
28 Jun 07 |  Rugby League
NZ Super League link played down
08 Apr 07 |  My Club


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