HUDDERSFIELD Giants have been granted a Super League franchise.

The Galpharm club were named as one of 14 new licence holders at a press conference staged by the Rugby Football League at the Gomersal Park Hotel.

While the Giants did not meet all the criteria for selection and have had a disappointing season – they are second from bottom of the table ahead of Friday’s trip to Wigan Warriors – they ticked enough of the boxes to get what is believed to be a ‘B’ grading for a top-flight place.

It secures the Galpharm club’s Super League status for the next three years without the threat of relegation. All licences will be reviewed again in 2011.

Nineteen clubs applied for places in the new 14-strong top-flight (it has been increased by two). All the existing 12 clubs received licences, with Salford and Celtic Crusaders being added.

Missing out were Toulouse, Widnes, Leigh, Halifax and Featherstone.

The Giants scored points for having a modern stadium with a capacity over 10,000, for being a solvent operation under passionate chairman Ken Davy and for not breaking the League’s salary cap.

They also registered positive points for their average League placing over the last three years – the play-off placing of last year being crucial – and for their contribution to junior development, with young stars like Leroy Cudjoe, Michael Lawrence and Thomas Hemingway performing brightly at top level this season.


HUDDERSFIELD Giants are on tenterhooks this morning.

The club will find out shortly if they are one of the teams in the new-look Super League from next year which will be expanded to 14 teams.

Below is a Q&A on everything you could need to know on today's announcement.

PA Sport Rugby League Correspondent Ian Laybourn looks at the issues ahead of today's major announcement.

Q: What is meant by licensing and why are licences being introduced?

A: It is another term for franchises and brings to an end the system of automatic promotion and relegation. From 2009 only clubs who have been awarded a licence will participate in the engage Super League for the next three years.

The League say the new system will enable clubs to make long-term decisions and encourage them to invest in junior player production and stadium and training facilities, rather than place the short-term emphasis on recruiting established players to avoid dropping out of the elite competition.

The international team is likely to benefit from the system with more young players receiving experience of highly competitive professional rugby league.

Q: Which clubs have applied for licences?

A: All 12 current Super League clubs have applied, along with French outfit Toulouse and six National League One clubs - Salford, Widnes, Celtic Crusaders, Leigh, Featherstone and Halifax. The RFL have decided to expand Super League to 14 teams so five of the 19 applicants will miss out.

Q: What do clubs have to do to get a licence?

A: Clubs will be assessed against the following areas:

:: Stadium facilities.

:: Finance and business performance.

:: Commercial and marketing.

:: Playing strength including junior production and development.

Q: Can the League expect a legal challenge from the clubs who miss out?

A: Clubs in both Super League and National League have been consulted over a long period about the introduction of the licensing system and formally approved the process so the League are confident there will be no repercussions.

Q: What happens then to the unsuccessful clubs?

A: All non-Super League clubs will have the opportunity to re-apply in three years' time when licences are re-issued for the period 2012-14. Toulouse could be given the opportunity to play in the National League which is likely to be reduced to 20 teams and the RFL are to invest more money in the National League to ensure it remains a vibrant competition in its own right.

Although it has been decided that Super League in 2009 will have 14 teams, there is no upper limit on membership so it could be expanded further to 15 or 16 clubs in 2012.

Q: Are successful clubs safe for three years?

A: A licence will initially be for three years but the RFL board will have the right to revoke a club's membership at any time. Reasons could include insolvency, contractual breach, persistent under performance and persistent rule-breaking.

Any failing club who has its membership removed could be replaced by a successful club from outside Super League.

Q: Who will make the decisions?

A: The five-strong RFL board, which includes three non-executive directors, will make the decision based on evidence compiled by RFL staff headed by in-house lawyer Rod Findlay. The five are:

Richard Lewis, former Davis Cup player and director of tennis at the LTA, who was appointed as RFL executive chairman in April 2002. He is chairman of the European Federation and deputy chairman of the International Federation as well as chairman of the CCPR's major spectator sports division.

Nigel Wood, formerly chief executive of Halifax and a one-time deputy head of finance for BBC North, he was appointed chief executive in October 2007. At international level, he is a director of the European Federation.

Ian Edwards, a non-executive director from May 2002, he is a former media director of the All England Club at Wimbledon, where he specialised in marketing television rights. He was a sports correspondent for ITN and columnist with The Times and, as head of sport at BBC Manchester, was responsible for the BBC's coverage of rugby league from 1987-89. Edwards recently stepped down from the board but will complete his role in the licence process.

Maurice Watkins, a prominent sports lawyer who became a non-executive director in 2002. He is the senior partner of a successful law firm in Manchester and a director of Manchester United. He is also president of the British Association for Sport and Law, a member of the FA Premier League legal working party and a member of FIFA's dispute resolution chamber.

Bob Stott, who joined the board as a non-executive director in 2006 after extensive experience in the supermarket industry, including 29 years at director level with Morrison's Plc where he was chief executive for a time.