FEATHERSTONE Rovers have confirmed they will not be applying for a Super League licence for 2012.
Although Rovers have ambitions to play in Super League, they say they are not yet in a position to apply for a licence. They accept they have to increase their support base before they are able to make a realistic application.
The Rugby Football League are committed to promoting a club from the Championship as long as they meet minimum criteria and Featherstone are one of five to have earned the right to seek a place in the top flight after reaching this year’s Grand Final.
Rovers director Andrew McNeil, who has been liaising with the RFL on the club’s bid, said: “We feel we can make a massive contribution to Super League.
“The club has just about reinvented itself over the past few years and we are well on the way to no longer being labelled a ‘small-town club’ but an ever-growing club that just happens to be in a small town.
“We need to grow our support base. We seem to have a large group of fans who only come to big games. We want them to enjoy the Rovers’ experience on a regular basis and we are working on that.
“This is the conundrum we face. Where do the people who come go for the rest of the year and why is there this resistance in general to enjoy an afternoon or evening at Featherstone?
“People have said to me that Rovers aren’t going to be allowed to progress to the top level because the powers that be don’t want us.
“This is simply not the case. We have liaised and co-operated with the RFL extensively and they have been helpful and encouraging.
“We are not dreamers: we have ambition and we are making that ambition work for us.
“Having that ambition means we have a responsibility to see it through and that underpins our business.
“We are doing what we are doing not just because of Super League but because we believe in making our club the best it can be for its own sake.
“Only then will we be ready and, until then, a licence bid has to be on hold for the immediate future.”
With 2010 Northern Rail Cup winners Batley also declining the chance to submit a licence application, it leaves Barrow, Halifax and hot favourites Widnes as the only likely bidders.
They have until December 3 to get their application in to the Rugby Football League, who will make a decision in March.