Ups and downs

Kear and Stevo aired their views on the return of relegation

Last Updated: 26/07/12 7:19am

John Kear and Stevo went head-to-head on Boots 'n' All over whether promotion and relegation should return to rugby league.

"You need a dream in sport and clubs in the Championship level need aspirations which they feel can be fulfilled."

John Kear

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The matter is under consideration as part of a review of the game ordered by interim chairman Maurice Watkins, following the departure of former chairman Richard Lewis.

With Bradford Bulls being docked six points on Wednesday for entering administration and several clubs reportedly calling for a reduction in the number of sides in Super League, the possibility of a return to relegation and promotion is back on the table.

Batley Bulls coach Kear wants to see an end to licensing and told Boots 'n' All the current system has failed.

"I was in favour of licensing when it first came in - but I don't think it's worked," said the former Wakefield and Hull boss.

"Also, I'm very proud of being British and part of our culture is the 'sporting dream'; in football that was epitomised by Blackpool and their season in the Premier League, where they almost retained Premiership status.

"We may need to look at the distribution of funds and the current parachute payments but you need a dream in sport and clubs in the Championship level need aspirations which they feel can be fulfilled."

Kear believes this will have benefits for fans of Super League, who will not only see battles for the league shield and play-off spots, but teams fighting to avoid the drop, too.

"I want to see a competition where we're looking at the top and saying: 'who's challenging for the league shield', where we're looking at the top eight and saying: 'who's going to make the play-offs', and we're looking at the bottom of the league at teams who are looking over their shoulder thinking: 'my word we need to keep working hard, playing until the end of the season and giving our all to win every game'.

"I feel the intensity in the lower end of the league hasn't been there."


However, Stevo was totally against the re-introduction of automatic promotion and relegation, insisting it would be a backwards step for the game.

"Promotion and relegation didn't create any stability at all," he said. "Most of the players who were relegated joined the club that was promoted. It was boom and bust.

"There were teams that knew they were in the region of being relegated midway through the season which led to panic buying and those sides bringing in so many players from overseas to save their bacon.

"That's not what the future of our rugby league is about. We want to go forward.

"The Australian RFL, since 1908, have never had promotion or relegation and boy, they seem to have a pretty well organised game Down Under!"