Leeds chief Hetherington blasts Super League's "absurd grab for power"

New Super League boss Robert Elstone was previously chief executive of Premier League side Everton

New Super League boss Robert Elstone was previously chief executive of Premier League side Everton

He flanked the competition's new CEO Robert Elstone as he was unveiled at a media conference in Warrington this afternoon.

"We have to conclude a new structure to put in place for next year".

Super League's new chief executive Robert Elstone is facing a potential civil war just eight days after taking office.

Lenagan also denied claims that Super League's attempt to be more in control of their own destiny- which included the appointment of Elstone - was not a breakaway from the RFL, and said no matter what changes are made for 2019 the funding given to the lower leagues will be unaffected until at least the end of the broadcast deal which runs to 2021.

The 54-year-old former Everton chief found himself embroiled in controversy just hours after announcing a major re-structure of the domestic game when Leeds boss Gary Hetherington launched a withering attack on his plans to axe the Super 8s.

Hetherington believes the RFL should be responsible for running the sport as a whole and in his statement he said: "Today's announcement regarding plans for next season appear to be an absurd grab for power for the game by a small group of men who think they own the game". Super League clubs voted seven to five at our last meeting on some key issues related to promotion and relegation.

"Leeds Rhinos are not party to this and are totally against the creation of a separate Super League executive".

The Leeds chief executive served on the body running Super League in the 1990s and was a member of an interim Rugby Football League board before independent directors were appointed for the first time.

"We believe this was disrespectful to the present consultation process involving the RFL and Championship/League 1 representatives where we are nowhere near a conclusion".

Outlining his vision for the future, Elstone - a Castleford Tigers fan who is originally from Barnsley - said his job involved "replacing a competition format that isn't working, that's creating too much uncertainty for clubs and fans". The top tier of football is well focused and has been successful, as has the top tier in Australia, the NRL.

"The RFL is the governing body for rugby league", said the Wigan chairman. "We believe it is very important that there is sole focus is Super League in order to grow the game significantly".

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