Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont threatens to quit sport after publicly slamming RFL in audacious post-match rant

Ben Olawumi
Derek Beaumont

Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont - Alamy

A video has emerged on social media of Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont hinting at corruption within the ranks of the Rugby Football League, and threatening to withdraw his financial backing in the sport as a result.

Taken during Beaumont’s speech to those in hospitality at the Leigh Sports Village following last Friday night’s final regular season round defeat to Wigan Warriors, the video has been doing the rounds on X this morning, though appears to have been taken from a Facebook page.

The Leopards lost out 10-6 to the Warriors, with Leigh seeing what looked to be a stonewall try from Oliver Gildart disallowed by the combination of on-field official Liam Moore and video referee Marcus Griffiths for an obstruction. Had it been given, Adrian Lam’s men would have drawn level with a kick to come.

With the result, the Leythers lost home advantage in this week’s play-off tie against Hull KR, and will now have to travel to Craven Park on Friday night rather than hosting the ‘eliminator’ themselves. Wigan’s win meanwhile saw them hold onto top spot, and with it the League Leaders’ Shield, lifting that silverware in their neighbour’s backyard.

Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont threatens to quit sport

Leigh were yesterday fined £12,000 for supporter disorder, and you get the feeling that owner Beaumont may well be getting a further sanction of his own following his comments.

He said: “Unfortunately, this is not an investable sport anymore to me, which is obviously very concerning. Unless there’s changes, I won’t be investing in it any further.

“I’m sorry to say that in here, but when the wife comes up to me and says, ‘I’ve had enough’, she sees the pain. [It’s happened] too many times now, and I don’t care if anyone’s filming it because I’ve told the RFL clean and square.

“They are all in my box, all with the presentation party, the trophy’s already in the stadium, all the boards are sat here and waiting.

“It’s impossible to move it from here to St Helens (or Salford, where 2nd-placed Catalans Dragons won), and then that gets dealt with by a decision from the referee who’s appointed by the people who are running the game that decide what goes on. No helicopter needed, because we can’t afford one! I’ll put it out there.”

Beaumont publicly slams RFL, hints at corruption

Always outspoken, Beaumont is one of the game’s biggest characters. Post-match on Friday night, broadcasters Sky Sports said that he had prevented head coach Lam from going and giving an interview.

The owner rebutted those claims on his own social media account the following day, though it’s clear to see how aggrieved he felt given the comments made in the hospitality section of the ground, feeling hurt for the ‘band of brothers’.

Beaumont added: “All we can talk about is the performance of a referee, yet again. I’ve got a guy down there who’s in charge of a group of players, and I see the work that goes in week in, week out from them, from all the coaching staff, and the medical staff.

“I see the work they put in, I see the weights they lift, the metres they run, the wrestle they do, the contact they put into each other, I see how much it means to them and how much they care about everybody in this room.

Then I see one person go with a signal of no-try, that’s incorrect, and rob them and you lot of watching us play at home next week. That ain’t right.

We’ve all got kids, there’s kids in here, and I definitely wouldn’t call them kids because they’re big grown up tough men, but they’re my kids. I treat them like my family, and they fight hard for me, so I feel hurt when they get abused.”

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