Lenagan’s tight-lipped after RFL climb-down

Sam Tomkins shakes hands with Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan after the Grand Final
Sam Tomkins shakes hands with Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan after the Grand Final
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WIGAN chairman Ian Lenagan was last night remaining tight lipped about his reasons for leading a revolt against the governing body.

Because of his action, the Rugby Football League was forced into an embarrassing climbdown when a majority of Super League clubs demanded a re-think over its plans to re-structure the domestic game.

Lenagan declined to comment when contacted by the Evening Post. And offered the chance to elaborate on why he was driven to take action, he said only: “I’d rather not.”

Though Lenagan instigated the rebellion by inviting all 14 clubs to a hastily arranged meeting on Monday, it’s understood he doesn’t want to threaten the success of the upcoming World Cup with negative remarks.

Discussions will take place over the coming weeks, but it appeared unlikely a decision on the top-flight’s structure from 2015 will not be made until after the international competition has finished.

The RFL declined to add any comment to their statement, issued on Monday night, which said a majority of Super League clubs wanted “further consultation” over the policy review which has been the subject of discussions for most of the year.

The headline proposal is a reduction in the number of top-flight clubs, along with the method of re-introducing automatic promotion and relegation.

But the central issue appears to be control of the game and, more pertinently, the purse strings.

Lenagan feels the governing body has not done enough to market the game and bring in additional income - the Warriors won the Super League on Saturday, a competition which had no title sponsor.

He also wants Super League clubs to be given a greater say in the future direction of the sport, with representation on the currently independent board of directors.

Hetherington did not attend the “rebels’” meeting but confirmed Rhinos would have backed the RFL recommendations.

But the move by Lenagan and his colleagues is seen as a vote of no-confidence in the RFL and its chief executive Nigel Wood.

The policy review will not now be officially re-considered until after the end of the World Cup, which leaves just two months of an off season to put plans in place.