Expansion Plans Forming for Rugby League World Club Challenge

By Community | May 4, 2012

Expansion plans for a proposed Rugby League World Club Challenge are starting to be formed and former Gateshead and Hull chief executive Shane Richardson will sit on a group who will take this forward.

The group was established following a meeting in London between Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood and his counterpart from the Australian Rugby League Commission, David Gallop, and will comprise of representatives of the Stobart Super League and the NRL.

Richardson, who was a founder of the Gateshead Super League club in 1999, is now chief executive of South Sydney.

Gallop, who was in Manchester on Thursday for talks on the 2013 World Cup, said: “I am a huge supporter of the World Club Challenge concept and am looking to explore ways in which we can build on its success and popularity.

“I will be joined by Shane Richardson and Peter Doust (St George Illawarra Dragons) on the working party and we look forward to working with Nigel and the Super League representatives to discuss all the options.”

The Challenge has been played as a one-off match between the champions of Super League and the NRL grand-final winners since 2000, with England hosting all 13 matches so far.

This year’s Challenge was won by Leeds, whose chief executive Gary Hetherington has led calls for it to be expanded and possibly taken to either a neutral venue or Australia.

Wood said: “There are a few logistical issues to be taken into consideration but it is clear that there is an appetite for more cross-competition fixtures involving Super League and NRL clubs.

“It’s important to stress that any expansion of the World Club Challenge would be in addition to, and not at the expense of, international competition which will continue to have primacy.”