The West Yorkshire outfit were one of six Championship clubs who applied to take Toronto Wolfpack’s place in the elite but they missed out to Leigh Centurions when the decision was announced yesterday.
A seven-strong panel, including representatives from Super League and the Rugby Football League and chaired by Lord Jonathan Caine, was “unanimous” in its belief that Leigh should be elevated.
Featherstone had put together a strong case and were hopeful that they might finally get their first chance to operate in the top division for the first time in the summer era.
But now they know they must concentrate on earning a place by winning the Championship in 2021 – something they believe is within their capabilities.
Longo said: “We worked hard over two weeks preparing and putting in place a thoroughly detailed and robust application.
“Our aim was to demonstrate not only the team’s consistent achievements over the past decade but also the off-field developments made at the club in recent years.
“We are naturally disappointed at the decision, but after a stressful month, all our concentrations can now be on the Betfred Championship in 2021.
“And we believe we have one of the strongest squads the club has fielded in the past ten years.”
Bradford Bulls, York City Knights, London Broncos and Toulouse Olympique were the other clubs to miss out and they will all hold similar beliefs as they head into what will be a fascinating Championship campaign.
Featherstone, who were unbeaten before Covid ended this year’s season and reached the Million Pound Game in 2019 before losing to Toronto, certainly have a squad to challenge.
Head coach James Webster said: “All our prep’ up to now has been in the Championship so it won’t change our preparation.
“Well done to Leigh. I hope they make a good fist of it and represent the Championship really well next year in Super League.
“But we have got a lot to look forward to next year. It is going to be a great, tough Championship competition and we are going to be fighting tooth and nail to be as high on the ladder as we can.”
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