Leigh Leopards owner discusses IMG score as new signing identity revealed

Aaron Bower
Derek Beaumont

Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont insists they will “100 per cent” be safe in Super League under IMG’s proposals in 2025 – as they close in on the signing of Aaron Pene.

The Leopards are set to announce the arrival of Pene this week, and he could be here in time for their next Super League fixture away at Catalans next Saturday. It would be a major boost for the Leopards, who are set to confirm Pene’s signature for this season as well as next.

And Beaumont, speaking on Leigh’s YouTube channel, was quizzed on Leigh’s IMG score and whether or not they will be at risk of being kicked out of Super League at the end of this season. Leigh were ranked 12th last year in the provisional gradings but Beaumont explained how that score will be much higher this year.

“That’s 100 per cent not going to happen,” he said when asked if Leigh may be at risk of being kicked out.

“In the preliminary gradings. I did nothing on our financial aspects. I think we scored 1.35 out of five, and overall scored, I think it was 12.45 and I was satisfied that I didn’t need to be doing anything because they were preliminary – it was the following year’s accounts that mattered.

“And that’s where I could make decisions around loans, converting to sponsorships, etc, etc, to strengthen that pillar. So I think we kind of showed in the preliminaries, limping in at 12th. And then I remember I was in the Maldives, and there was some suggestion that Castleford hadn’t been scored, right, and were missing half a point, so we would have arguably been us 13th.

“So when I did the financial work, that increased just the financial pillar and took us to 15.05. Of course, we lose the points for the Challenge Cup, 0.25, our crowds, we’ve been pushing north, you know, so there’ll be other slight increases on occupancy, whether we’ll get to the next attendance milestone, maybe not.

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“So it could well be based on where our position is in the league, if we don’t make the playoffs and we don’t finish higher, it could well be that we finish just shy of 15, but it will most certainly start with a 14, and most certainly be in a in a Super League place.”

However, Beaumont revealed that if Leigh were to finish bottom of Super League this year – a prospect which seems unlikely given their turnaround in form – he would ask to be relegated in the interests of sporting fairness.

He said: “So, you know, there’s no concerns whatsoever from me – having said that if we was to finish bottom of Super League, I would be saying I’d like to go back to Championship, because that’s where I think we should be if we finish bottom and London finished above us.

“It wouldn’t be right, morally, for me to stay in and watch them get relegated. So I wouldn’t do it. It might be a brave comment and our fans might not like hearing it, but you know, we’ll do what we can and and fight and bring players in and and do what you do to not finish bottom whilst also working on our off-field points for the IMG.”

Beaumont then confirmed a new arrival is imminent.

“There’s news there’ll be a sign and announced this week, who hopefully will arrive on Friday,” he said.

“You could argue we don’t need to do that. it all comes at a cost. And I’ll be putting money in monthly. And it’ll be a big one next month, we’ve no home games, and that gets extended further, because, ultimately, I’m looking at, what do we need to do to get in the playoffs, not what do we need to do to not finish bottom, not get relegated.”

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