Brian Barwick: RFL chairman eyes stable Super League

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Barwick says change must be right

Rugby Football League chairman Brian Barwick hopes the sport's proposed restructuring will be long lasting.

Super League is set to be reduced from 14 teams to 12 from the 2015 season.

He told BBC London: "The Super League clubs have really embraced the desire to not change for change's sake but to change to give the game a future.

"If we're to change the structure then let's change it for all the right reasons and then let's settle down and watch the sport for years to come."

Following a "a robust and frank debate" at their annual general meeting in Bradford in July, Super League clubs agreed to changes in the competition at the end of next season.

The clubs have asked the governing body to look at two options. One involves a 12-team Super League running alongside a 12-team Championship that would split after 23 rounds into three groups of eight; the other is for two divisions of 12 with promotion and relegation.

The RFL has yet to announce any definitive outcome and Barwick admits that discussions are "ongoing".

"I think the sport should have great pride in the fact it is an innovative sport," he said. "My position is I will support the change.

"I will support the executive, making sure that there is a positive change and equally I think that's the last change for a while."

Barwick, who has previously served as chief executive at the Football Association and held senior posts at the BBC and ITV, was appointed as RFL chairman in January.

He says he is determined to help the sport progress during his tenure.

"I really decided from the off that I was going to give this a real go," Barwick said.

"I want to be the chairman of the RFL for a fair old time and I can help.

"I genuinely can help just because of the things I've done in my own past, mistakes I've made and successes I've had.

"I think people see me for what I am trying to be - which is not an expert but a guy who has got a lot of experience at the front line of some organisations across sport and media.

"Those are transferable skills and hopefully, in due course, will be very successful in helping the sport to go forwards."

Barwick is wary the RFL needs to increase their commercial income, grow its fanbase and improve coverage of the sport in the media.

"Off the pitch the sport needs to continue to work hard in commercial areas, we need to look after the supporters who come and find some more," he said.

"It's in a decent shape but like every sport, it could do with more money, more supporters and more exposure. That is not different to any sport I have been around.

"Those are the key issues and they are all potentially doable."

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