FEATHERSTONE Rovers Chairman Mark Campbell has called for clubs at all levels of the professional structure to disclose which way they are voting at today’s Rugby Football League EGM.
Campbell is a member of the Championship and League 1 Advisory Group, who held a press conference at the Provident Stadium this afternoon.
The Rovers chairman said: “I think that all clubs need to be open and honest about which way they are voting on Friday and their reasons for doing so.
“The Fans are the major stakeholders in the game and yet not only are they not being given a platform to be heard, or even consulted, I don’t believe that they are truly aware how dire this new deal is, and what the consequences are for the Championship and League 1.
“Rugby league is a sport where clubs are very closely connected. That creates the rivalries which help make this sport great, but at times it also causes weaknesses.
“I am aware that some of the larger clubs are using scaremongering tactics and their overarching influence on the smaller clubs, in an attempt to alter the result of the vote.
“This is a farcical situation and the RFL is not fulfilling its responsibilities as a governing body.
“They need to be strong and most importantly neutral. They should be providing facts for clubs to base their decisions on and ensuring nothing underhand happens.
“I’m sure when the 14 team Championship proposal first came out, it made supporters concerned that votes might essentially be bought.
“Featherstone is a strong Championship club and that makes it possible for me to hold firm for what I believe are the best interests of the club and the game.
“I understand that some other clubs can be tempted though. That makes me admire the actions of the likes of Swinton Chairman Andy Mazey.
“He has come out and said he will vote in the best interests of the game, despite the fact it will cost the Lions their Championship status.”
In addition to concerns that supporters are being kept in the dark ahead of Friday’s vote, Campbell also voiced his disappointment at the players’ lack of representation.
“One of our former players, Garreth Carvell has done a great job in helping to build the GMB players union up to over 600 members, and yet we are in the farcical situation where they will not be able to impact Friday’s decisive vote” said Campbell.
“The players are the sport’s prize assets and despite lots of negotiation, they will not be able to have a say on a vote which could have a huge financial impact on them if it goes the wrong way.”
After calling for other clubs to disclose their reasons for voting, Campbell considered it important to outline his own.
He said: “We are currently in the middle of a TV rights cycle, with no guarantee of what money will be on offer after it finishes.
“I fail to see how anyone could vote to change the current setup and reduce their income, based on no factual evidence.
“Nobody would do it in their personal life and nobody would do it in business, so we certainly shouldn’t do it in sport.
“This structure has made the Championship and League 1 stronger than ever and there has been no research undertaken to prove we should actively look to change that.
“I want to assure Featherstone Rovers supporters that I will always vote in the best interests of both the club and the game, and will never be swayed from this.”