Leigh owner Derek Beaumont believes Simon Grix’s recent “Mickey Mouse” comments about the 1895 Cup are insulting to the sport.
Beaumont – whose company AB Sundecks are title sponsors of the newly formed 1895 Cup – believes the competition is brilliant for lower league clubs in the game.
But in a recent interview with League Express, Halifax coach Grix slammed the fact that the competition was forcing part-time players to play two games per week.
Grix said: “You’ve got to question it being in midweek. If anyone thinks clubs are taking it seriously, then they should look at ours and Bradford’s results.
“It needs a rethink. I think the original idea where the final would be played before the Challenge Cup, everyone got on board with.
“But then the goalposts were moved and it will be played afterwards, plus there’s no money in it for clubs and players are risking their bodies for no reward.
“The game against Sheffield cost us as a club – not a lot, but enough, because who wants to turn out for what was a borderline Mickey Mouse game?
“The old Northern Rail Cup was brilliant, and this could be as well if it’s done properly.
“But you can’t have it as part of three games in a week for part-time players.”
Beaumont has issued a response via the Leigh club, insisting that Grix’s comments are ‘insulting’ to rugby league.
He added: “I am very disappointed at Simon’s comments. Perhaps they are a little naive given his inexperience starting out as a coach.
“To refer to the competition as ‘Mickey Mouse’ is insulting to the sport, the title sponsor, the broadcast partner and the governing body, not to mention the clubs taking part and their passionate fans.
“I would imagine on reflection he will perhaps regret those comments or at least I hope he would.
“Like others at first I was disappointed the final would be played after the Challenge Cup Final but having digested it I think it works better. If the game was before I believe most of the fans attending the Challenge Cup final would still be enjoying the build-up to their final in the pubs in and around Wembley and would likely watch the game with one eye on the BBC.
“Whereas after the Challenge Cup final fans are already in the stadium and I believe there is more chance of them staying.
“Clubs have to do what is best for their own position and Simon is fortunate enough to have deservedly led his team to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup which would also impact on his decision.
“But to ridicule it for other clubs taking it seriously is disappointing and poor from him.
“I would be proud leading a team out at Wembley to play tiddly winks so to have the potential chance to do so in a game of Rugby League I find highly motivating at any level.
“This concept makes the unthinkable dream a real prospect to so many that contribute so much to the rugby league family and the RFL should be applauded for this, not ridiculed.”