“IF we didn’t feel we could be competitive with that £1million, we simply wouldn’t apply.”

So said York City Knights chairman Jon Flatman, who has admitted the proposed funding for the club arriving in Super League would pose a challenge - but one York City Knights would relish.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone confirmed earlier this week that £1m is considered a reasonable amount for the incoming 12th club to receive.

Top-tier sides have received £1.8m this season but that is expected to fall next year with Sky having negotiated a rebate for games lost. Elstone also argued that “suppressed economics” could mean a cut in player wages.

Wise recruitment and good coach would be necessary for the incoming club, Elstone added.

With head coach James Ford directing the Knights’ on-field matters, Flatman has presided over York’s League One title-winning campaign and a third-placed finish in the Championship in successive seasons, and he believes York can make a good fist of it in the top tier as well.

“The £1million central distribution will create a challenge for anybody going up against clubs who are receiving more than that, for sure,” Flatman said.

“However, it gives us an opportunity to grow both on and off the field.

“We understand the situation and appreciate the financial pressures that all clubs - Super League more than any other - have been under during the 2020 period.

“If we didn’t feel we could be competitive with that £1m, we simply wouldn’t apply.

“We have looked at it and we do believe we can be competitive and we do believe that Super League as an entity, its members and the wider game would get huge benefits from making York that 12th team.”

York’s competition for the spot - left vacant by Toronto Wolfpack’s resignation from Super League earlier this year - comes from Bradford Bulls, Featherstone Rovers, London Broncos, Toulouse Olympique and Leigh Centurions.

All six of the applicant clubs were lined up to compete in the Championship this year.

In an online poll, which attracted more than 5,000 votes, the Knights emerged as respondents’ preferred option to take the 12th place with a resounding plurality - almost 40 per cent of ballots cast went to York. Toulouse were second favourites with 13 per cent.

Far from the only recognition the up-and-coming Knights have received, Flatman believes other accolades his club has received confers on them strong credentials and potential.

“There will be six clubs with the intention to put together as good an application as they can,” Flatman added. “All of those rugby league clubs are great clubs - they have all delivered high-end performance on and off the field in the past three years and they would all be a positive addition to Super League.

“Good luck to all of them - but the best of luck to us.

“In 2018, York were voted the RFL Club of the Year. In 2019, York were voted the RFL’s Championship Club of the Year, again (recognising work) on and off the field.

“We’re in a pretty strong position. I would hope that - on the basis of the work done to make that decision, plus we’ve got a new stadium and we’re a year more mature - we would continue to be that Championship Club of the Year and ultimately, that is exactly what you’re voting for.”

Publicly-available RFL documents reveal that applicants have to have been in Super League or finished in the Championship top six in 2018 or 2019; have an operational stadium capacity of 5,000; and have had at least a 2,000-average attendance in the 2018 or 2019 regular seasons.

Also to be assessed are the clubs’ commercial potential, plans for growth, playing performance, facilities, finance and sustainability, and governance.

The RFL hopes to reach a decision by December 16, with the application deadline falling on November 30.