KEIGHLEY Cougars are among the clubs that have held constructive talks with the Rugby Football League over the ‘best possible league structure for 2024 and beyond’.

The eight remaining League 1 clubs held an emergency meeting with the sport’s governing body last week, after Newcastle Thunder and London Skolars folded to leave a painfully small third tier, spread geographically all the way from Workington to Cornwall.

As it stands, it could be a challenging season for clubs in that division, in terms of travel costs and a lack of games.

A further meeting is set to take place this week to discuss potential resolutions.

The likes of Hunslet and Keighley have already backed a merger between the second and third tiers, while another proposal is rumoured to be the addition of some Super League reserve sides to join the eight clubs already in League 1.

For now, clubs remain positive after those initial talks, with Newcastle also potentially open to a return to the sport if possible.

In a statement, they and the other eight clubs said: “Following Thursday’s well-documented meeting between the League 1 clubs and representatives of the RFL executive, we can confirm that constructive talks remain ongoing.

Keighley News: Keighley and Rochdale are two of the nine clubs involved in these talks.Keighley and Rochdale are two of the nine clubs involved in these talks. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

“League 1 clubs are united and remain committed to working with our governing body and our Championship colleagues to identify and implement the best possible league structure for 2024 and beyond.

“We are focused on driving an outcome which ultimately puts all member clubs outside of Super League on a level playing field, specifically in terms of the IMG grading criteria and an outcome in the best interests of driving a longer-term growth curve for the whole sport.”