Beaumont: I had to bounce back after Academy blow

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont says the RFL decision not to award his club an elite Academy licence left him considering his future in the game.

The controversial ruling to initially take away the top-level status of Castleford, Bradford and Hull KR’s Academies caused a major public stir.

While those three were later granted probationary licences, Leigh and Salford had bids to upgrade their youth pathways knocked back.

Writing in his programme notes for Saturday’s Super League game against Catalans, Beaumont explained: “I love this club passionately and deeply.

“I love what it provides for the community and the opportunities it provides within it.

“It is steeped in history and my drive is to continue that and put the club in a firm, self-sustainable and secure place to continue long after I have passed.

“It’s my third time trying and it’s been taking its toll.

“The Academy decision took the wind out of my sails and left me questioning my involvement in Rugby League and also that of my wife.

“I haven’t publicly commented on it as I have been too hurt by it.

“We couldn’t put forward a bid based on what we had or had previously achieved but rather as it was headed – a strong, structured and evidenced bid of what we would establish and operate.

“It’s flabbergasting that the game can turn down such an intent of investment from someone with the means and proven track record of doing so.

“I was so taken aback I felt no fight, despite my beliefs that the decision is anti-competitive and a restriction of trade and a decision I do not feel would stand up to a strong legal challenge.

“While the sport is governed by a salary cap and there is a financial benefit to players produced in an Academy within that salary cap, it cannot be that all clubs cannot have the same opportunity.

“That said, it isn’t the time for that immediate fight, and I had to rejuvenate myself to not give in to the current situation and job in hand of maintaining our Super League status.”

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