THE CHAMPIONSHIP is at risk of being wiped out unless there is a massive overhaul at the top of the sport, according to Bulldogs boss Matt Diskin.
Diskin has slammed the RFL, Super League clubs and Sky Sports for taking a disillusioned and disrespectful approach to lower divisions.
The comments come amid speculation surrounding Toronto negotiating a deal with Premier Sports to televise their 2018 games.
“I think the screening of Toronto on Premier Sports is good for the game, but it also highlights the mismanagement from the RFL and Sky Sports,” said Diskin.
“One game per year has been shown from the Championship over the past couple of years and that shows an utter lack of respect for any coach, any player, any CEO, any owner in the Championship.
“There isn’t even any highlights – no coverage whatsoever – and that shows a complete lack of respect from anyone above Championship level. It’s disgusting and detrimental for the game.”
Diskin praised Toronto for their attempts to promote themselves and the sport.
“I don’t think there is any disrespect from Toronto at all, I think they are trying to look after their own backyard,” he said.
“I think where the disrespect comes from is from the RFL itself, the Super League clubs and from Sky Sports. Fair play to Toronto for taking some initiative.”
It is not the first time the Batley coach has questioned the priorities of the RFL and their management of the sport.
Diskin believes poor leadership could be in danger of jeopardising the “fantastic spectacle” of the Championship.
“If you look where we are as a game at the moment, it’s going to be a tough few years when you look at the growth of rugby union, the Australians and teams coming in from further afield such as Toronto,” he said.
“We’re just going to be a breeding ground for other people’s success.
“Unless we get some strong leadership and strong guidance from the top, then this game is just going to get smaller and smaller and eventually disappear.
“This would be such a shame because the sport’s got some amazing athletes and some amazing people involved.
“It is these athletes and those around them who need to be the face of the game, not the hierarchy.
“This won’t change without a massive overhaul at the top.”
According to Diskin, the rugby on show in the Championship regularly offers more entertainment than that on display in its top flight counterpart.
“The top is very elitist, they only generally care about Super League, whereas the divisions below and the Championship, if I’m honest, provided more exciting rugby than anything shown on Sky Sports last year,” he said.
“The lower divisions still have some of the core value of the game – it’s not as sterile, it’s nitty, it’s gritty, it’s tough and uncompromising.
“We’d love to be able to put our sport and our division on show and highlight the positive attributes it has. It’s a shame that we don’t have the ability to do that.”
The Bulldogs face Wakefield Trinity on January 14 in what will be their second of four pre-season games.