Hetherington questions RFL decision

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington has criticised the decision of the RFL to withdraw elite Academy licences from Bradford, Castleford and Hull KR, while suggesting that the game needs to take a wider view of player production and development.

“I can’t criticise the work of the panel that made the decision to withdraw those licences, because I haven’t seen their work and I’m sure that within their remit they will have come up with a proposal that accords with their objectives,” Hetherington told League Express.

“But the problem I have is that the whole issue of player production and development is much wider than simply being about elite Academies.

“We need to see the RFL developing a wider strategy that involves all the clubs.

“For example, I believe that every club should be involved and have a responsibility in whatever the game-wide strategy is and the distribution of RFL funds should partly depend on each club developing a strategy and putting it into practice.

“All Super League clubs should be required to run an Academy as a condition of being members of the competition.

“It seems very clear to me that the issue of participation and player development is at least as important for all clubs in the game as a broadcasting deal. We are literally talking about the future of the game.

“And this decision shouldn’t have been taken in isolation.”

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