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Club statement regarding IMG vote

20 April 2023

SWINTON LIONS RLFC – Statement regarding the Special General Meeting IMG vote

Yesterday clubs voted overwhelmingly in support of the RFL and IMG recommendations regarding the future direction of travel of the sport under a new grading system.

At Swinton Lions we also voted in favour of the proposal, which represented the unanimous decision of the Board.

Over the past few weeks our Board has given comprehensive consideration to the IMG plan and its likely impact on the Swinton Lions club itself, as well as the wider game. Our efforts to fully understand the finer detail included a club specific in-depth meeting with the RFL at their new Etihad Campus HQ.

The desire to drive standards forward across the sport was critical to our thought process, as was the fact that contrary to some reports we do not believe there will be a top table lock-out. On the contrary there will be a clear pathway forward for ambitious clubs, and one we believe with greater financial security than under the current promotion and relegation system at Super League level.

We accept that the ball is now very much within our own hands, and in the hands of our friends and competitors at other clubs. At Swinton Lions we could otherwise run the risk of standing still or potentially regressing as a club in an ever more challenging landscape. Instead we look forward to driving our business forward and embracing the potential opportunities provided by the new grading system, particularly by exploiting our advantageous geographical location within a huge city conurbation.

Inevitably we will need to be ambitious and progressive, and partly to this end we will shortly be announcing the appointment of additional new Board members with appropriate skill sets, and who share in our aim to play a significant participant role in the future of rugby league football. We are therefore already in the process of filling key gaps in our business, to compliment some of the fantastic work that has taken place over the past two years. Namely our recent promotion and the fielding of a competitive team at Championship level, together with our wonderful off-field work, including the launch of our women’s team the Lionesses, the impending launch of a wheelchair team, and the incredible participant numbers that our now progressing through the various projects being undertaken by the Lions’ Foundation all across Greater Manchester.

We have wonderful sponsors and strategic partners, as well as the most loyal of a core support base. We are incredibly appreciative of our team of volunteers, and specific fan initiatives such as Pridebuilder and the Supporters’ Trust. We are also in the process of identifying and engaging with new strategic and commercial partners. Yet despite these efforts, unfortunately we are not currently achieving the required supporter numbers and commercial income which will enable us to invest further in our infrastructure and playing strength.

Every day brings a fresh major challenge, and we accept that the grading system alone will not in itself realise the sport’s ambitions overnight. However, all clubs are now charged to improve standards without delay and help drive those commercial rewards in which teams in all three divisions have a vested and shared interest. We look forward to sharing more detail with our supporters in due course.



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