Bedford Tigers Set to Join League 1 in Rugby League Expansion Push

Rugby League Expansion: Bedford Tigers Confirm Bid to Join League 1 in 2025

In a significant development for the sport, the Bedford Tigers have officially announced their intention to join League 1, the third tier of professional rugby league in the UK, in 2025. The Southern Conference League club has followed the lead of the Yorkshire Men’s League side Goole Vikings, becoming the second team to publicly confirm their bid for expansion.

Ambitious Bid and Club History

Bedford, a club with over two decades of history, has taken a crucial step forward, confirming that they have formally submitted their application to the Rugby Football League (RFL) to join the competition next year. The club’s ambitions extend beyond just the men’s team, as they boast well-functioning women’s and wheelchair sides as well.

“The formation of a Charitable Foundation in 2023 further solidifies their commitment to the sport’s growth and development in the region.”

The RFL recently opened the door for new bids, and a decision is expected to be made later this summer, allowing the successful club sufficient time to prepare for the transition to the professional game in League 1. Bedford has now stepped forward, acknowledging the challenges that come with such an endeavor, but expressing confidence in their ability to be a sustainable addition to the league.

Community Engagement and Talent Pool

In a statement, the club highlighted their 20-year history of delivering rugby league to the local community, catering to all ages, genders, and abilities. Notably, Bedford believes their IMG score, a metric used to assess the viability of clubs, currently stands at around 3.5, placing them within close range of the current bottom-placed club, North Wales Crusaders, in the provisional gradings. The club emphasized the abundance of rugby talent in the surrounding areas, with several players having already represented League 1 and Championship teams.

As the rugby league community eagerly awaits the RFL’s decision, the Bedford Tigers’ bid stands as a testament to the sport’s continued expansion and the determination of clubs to secure a place in the professional ranks.

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