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Rugby League: The future of Gateshead is a tough one [Nov. 4th, 2009|05:43 pm]
Sports Shorts


The RFL's board of directors faces a difficult decision on Friday when it discusses the future of Gateshead and, by implication, that of Leigh.

The Thunder are on the brink of going into administration, which would bring a nine point deduction.

The question is whether it would apply to next season, or retrospectively to last, in which case it would relegate then from the Championship to Championship 1.

The irony of that is that Gateshead seem to recognise themselves that they would better off regrouping in the lower division.

That would have the side-effect of saving Leigh from the drop into the third tier of the professional game. It is not a division that a club with their facilities, their coaching and their wage bill has any business being in.

Leigh's argument at the get-together to welcome the second coming of Ian Millward this week was a simple one.

Okay, we finished in the relegation places, but if there is re-arranging to be done we're better in the higher bracket and Gateshead are better off in the lower.

The danger is that you shoot the credibility of the competition full of holes when you start deciding issues off the field rather than on it.

But you could argue that the League is already doing that when it hands out an exemption from relegation to Toulouse.

It's a tricky one, but what the League must not do is make the Championship 1 fixture list even more chaotic than it was last season.

Some of the gaps between home games must have made it close to impossible to run clubs as businesses.