Dewsbury Rams head coach Neil Kelly believes that several Championship clubs should be worried by the direction that rugby league is heading following Nigel Wood’s departure from the RFL.
Kelly says that many clubs in the Championship and League 1 are concerned about what will happen to the lower divisions of the sport now that Wood has stepped down from his role as CEO.
It is understood that several Super League clubs are wanting to take full control of the game’s TV revenue, which could lead to less funding for Championship clubs.
And the Dewsbury boss thinks giving less money to the Championship will prove detrimental not just to the division but to the whole of rugby league.
“Judging by some of the reports, a lot of people in our division and the division below are a little bit concerned,” said Kelly.
“There is the concern about what direction the RFL are going to go in now that Nigel Wood isn’t there.
“Everybody at this level should be a little bit worried, there have been some press reports saying that there have been moves to try and take the finance away from the Championship.
“I think that would be detrimental, not only to our division, but to the game as a whole.
“The game needs a thriving level of competition below Super League, so it is worrying what direction the game is going to take.”
The Rams boss has said that this isn’t the first time he has experienced clubs trying to break away.
Kelly also believes that Wood has been an “advocate” for the Championship during his time as CEO.
He said: “When I was at Dewsbury before, we lived through one period that was like the current situation.
“The game fought hard to stay together against some forces within that tried to break away.
“Now it seems that we are back to where we were then, hopefully that isn’t the case and we can look at ways to take the whole game forward.
“I’m as concerned as anybody else, as the noises coming out suggest we are going to be where we were 10 to 15 years ago.
“I think, overall, that Nigel Wood has done a good job, on the face of it he has been an advocate for this division.”
With many names being touted to take over from Wood, Kelly feels it is critical that whoever comes in is impartial.
He said: “I have seen some of the names that people are pushing, for example Wigan – who seem to be at the front of the breakaway situation – promoting Phil Clarke and players who have played at Wigan.
“I can see there being a bit of a divide at Super League level with the clubs that are trying to take the money from us, and the ones who have developed the clubs to such an extent that they are independent, free-standing clubs that can survive without the extra money.
“I think that Kevin Sinfield has been touted for the position but I think it needs to be a neutral person who goes in there, rather than a significant player.
“It is better to take away the parochial side of the game and really look at getting an independent person in, who obviously has the capabilities but without close ties to any club.”