THE structure of rugby league from 2019 will be determined today when 35 Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs gather for what is expected to be a turbulent extraordinary general meeting in Salford.

They will consider the proposal to scrap the current Super 8s and replace it with a one-up, one-down system of promotion and relegation replacing the qualifiers.

At the top of the table, the current system of 8s and then 1 v 4, 2 v 3 knockout will be replaced by the original top five play-off concept.

Six extra loop fixtures would replace the axed Super 8s fixtures.

The meeting is expected to be a stormy one, with changes in central funding being a key element of the proposal brokered by RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer and his Super League equivalent Robert Elstone.

Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus confirmed on Wednesday that the club will voting in favour of implementing the proposals recommended by the RFL.

And he spelled out the urgent need for change in a statement.

He said: "No one can credibly say that Super League and the game of rugby league in this country has in any way strengthened or improved over the last decade; quite the contrary I'm afraid. Change for the better is needed and without delay.

“The deal recommended by the RFL, and agreed to by Super League after months of detailed discussions, is fair to all parties and also enables Super League to focus on improving its own quality, profile and commercial performance.”

“As Super League is the vehicle from which the vast proportion of the entire game's finances derive, it is in everyone's interests that a more professional and dedicated senior management is allowed to focus its efforts to improve its business performance and commercial value.

“I believe that Super League is one of the most undervalued and unexploited major sporting brands in the world.

“The necessary changes have to be agreed and implemented in order to remedy this unacceptable state of affairs.”

The Super 8s system, which was introduced in 2015, has not worked and has produced a series of meaningless games once the top four and top eight have been decided.

It has also proven unpopular with supporters, unable to make long-term planning for the fixtures – or to commit to matches that have no consequence.

McManus said: “The Super 8s structure is not appreciated by the majority of fans and sponsors and the financial ramifications to Super League clubs amply reflect this. Its detrimental consequences cannot continue.

“A system of straight promotion and relegation has the full backing of Super League whilst enabling better performing Championship clubs to continue enter our competition based on merit and quality.

“Too great a financial and commercial gulf has opened up over the last decade between Super League and the NRL and Premiership Rugby Union. We have to be equipped to improve every aspect of our finances and to improve the quality of our game.

“Most importantly, we have to be allowed to position ourselves strongly to negotiate a materially improved deal with potential media partners in the years ahead.

“This RFL proposal provides us with an improved ability to achieve those objectives, to the cost of no one but for the potential benefit of all.

“To reject it will result in a protraction of an already prolonged period of commercial underperformance and a further diminution of the profile and value of rugby league in this country to the detriment of all its participants. The game is not strong enough to withstand that continued scenario.”

However, this view is not shared by the overwhelming majority of teams below the top flight.

Yesterday an advisory group representing the Championship and League 1 clubs in a press conference at Bradford, announced they would be voting overwhelmingly against the resolution.

The non-Super League clubs are particularly concerned about funding levels beyond the current Sky television deal which is worth £40million a year and expires at the end of 2021.

Figures released to the advisory group just 48 hours from the meeting anticipate a fall in revenue and that the RFL and clubs outside Super League will bear the brunt of it.

The period of debate has been acrimonious - with thinly veiled threats of Super League walking away at the end of 2021 if the deal is not passed.

And yesterday there were allegations of clubs no longer supplying players under dual registration to partner Championship clubs if they did not support the proposals.