Leigh future at risk, says Derek Beaumont

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont has told the BBC the Centurions’ future as a professional club is at risk.

Two contracted players, believed to be Rhys Evans and Kevin Larroyer, are yet to agree a settlement to their contracts after the owner pulled his financial support for the club after they missed out on The Qualifiers, resulting in a significant dip in central funding.

Currently, the club has no other players, no coach – after Kieron Purtill went to Widnes – and is under special measures from the RFL, meaning the club is unable to sign players.

Beaumont told BBC Radio Manchester: “There’s no way it can survive if it’s got to pay two players full time.

“When 40% of your playing budget would be taken up by those two players, that you’re trying to arrange to move on, it leaves very small amount of money to recruit 20 players.

“If I gave a coach that money they’d be in League One the following year.”

Under Beaumont, Leigh earned promotion to Super League but relegated after just one season following defeat to Catalans in the Million Pound Game.

The club then received a £500,000 parachute payment from Super League, but let go of the majority of their squad, some of which then attempted to take legal action against the club.

Beaumont retained the club’s full-time status in 2018, recruiting an expensively assembled squad of former Super League and NRL players, but a slow start to the season meant they missed out on a place in the top four.

A number of players left the club ahead of the transfer deadline in July, and Beaumont put the club up for sale.

He says he has had no offers for the club, but says he would write off his loans to the club should an ambitious potential owner come in wanting to make Leigh a Super League club again.

The release of the Championship fixture schedule for 2019 is due before November 18.