Leigh owner appeals for a return to action

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont says he will do everything in his power to prove that Rugby League can return to the field despite COVID-19.

Beaumont is one of a handful of club officials determined to see the Championship and League 1 seasons return, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Echoing the thoughts of Featherstone Chairman Mark Campbell, Beaumont believes the sport would be turning its back on supporters and sponsors should they not do everything they can to get the action back underway.

He has been left disappointed that others don’t share his view, but is adamant that the competition can return while maintaining the financial stability of clubs at the same time.

“My attitude is can do, will do, how do we do,” he said.

“It’s a shame that not everyone else involved has the same sort of thinking.

“Not everybody spoke, so it’s hard to know exactly what everyone is thinking, but a lot didn’t think it is viable and thought I only wanted to play so we can get promoted, but that’s nonsense.

“We have an obligation to the fans to stand tall and proud in difficult circumstances. This sport survived two World Wars and we are in our 125th year, so I don’t want it to roll over and have its belly tickled.

“We need to find a way to get the game on safely without breaking rules or laws and I believe we can do that; it’s a shame that others don’t.”

Beaumont revealed that one proposal could see clubs wishing to return to the field taking part in a smaller competition, which could even allow promotion to remain under RFL approval.

“Someone made the suggestion that if certain clubs wanted to play, they could do so in a smaller competition, so long as it’s meaningful. We could get playing and there would be a better chance of opening up to crowds as we could start later.

“One person’s rhetoric was that it would be wrong for some to play and others not to, but I argued that’s the case if Super League are playing and the Championship. Then that’s prejudicing our fans, our players and our clubs.

“The reality is we need to find reasons why we can, rather than why we can’t. I’ve put my name forward for this working group and I’ll be trying to drive that sort of attitude.

“Ralph is doing a really good job through strong leadership. I’m confident once he’s got the info he’ll make the right decision for the game.

“If we can produce a meaningful competition there’s nothing to stop promotion and relegation happening. It’s an RFL decision, not Super League’s.”