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Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Quins success 'important' to Super League - RFL's Lewis

Richard Lewis
Lewis has been RFL executive chairman since April 2002

Rugby Football League chairman Richard Lewis has said the success of Harlequins is paramount to the future of Super League.

Harlequins, the only Super League club based in London, have been urged to improve their attendances, which averaged just under 3,500 in 2009.

Lewis told BBC London 94.9: "We're putting in a lot of effort to help grow the game in the South East and London.

"Once we get people there, they will come back because it's a great sport."

He added: "We need to strike a balance and make sure that the Super League is seen by as many people as possible but at the same time recognizing that London and Harlequins are important to us," said Lewis.

The majority of Super League clubs are based in the North West of England and Yorkshire, with Catalan Dragons, Crusaders and Harlequins the only teams to fall outside the heartlands.

Attendance will be one of the criteria used to determine clubs' suitability when the next round of Super League licences are awarded in 2011.

"I think that people recognise the sport needs to be played around the country and they realise the inclusion of a French team, the Catalan Dragons, has been a success," said Lewis.

"They're might be some people who go on phone-ins and say we're not sure about the sport being played anywhere but in our own back-yard, but the vast majority want the sport to be seen around the country.

"It's important that the club is seen as strong and as vibrant as any other in the league because they are strategically important to the sport."

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