Leigh out of special measures and agree termination with final two players

James Gordon
Derek Beaumont

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont has confirmed the club is now out of RFL special measures and have mutually terminated the deals of Rhys Evans and Kevin Larroyer.

The Centurions have endured a turbulent few months after it became apparent they wouldn’t be able to finish in the Championship’s top four, and they released a number of players before the transfer deadline.

Players continued to leave until the end of the season, forcing them to apply for special dispensation for emergency loan players to ensure the Championship Shield final with Featherstone went ahead.

The storm has showed signs of easing in recent weeks, and they have appointed John Duffy as head coach and brought back Martin Ridyard, both from Featherstone.

In a statement, Beaumont said: “The last five months have been extremely difficult ones and I would like to place on record my gratitude for the unwavering and unequivocal support of my fellow board of directors whilst we put the future of the Club at the expense of our personal reputations to be able to reach this point.

“I would like to thank the players and backroom staff for agreeing to terminate their contracts to enable the Club to continue and rebuild and I apologise to them for the manner in which I have had to conduct myself with them in order to achieve this.

“I would also like to thank the understanding sponsors and supporters whom have had to be kept in the dark but have refrained from being over critical and continued to pledge their support whilst understandably being concerned.”

In a lengthy statement, Beaumont also reveals how not finishing in the top four hadn’t really been considered and that even with hindsight, it is unlikely that any clauses for contracts to be ripped should that have happened would have been feasible.

He added: “In the end we didn’t make the four and I have taken full responsibility for that. There was an immediate threat to the viability of the business and I and the board acted immediately to safeguard the Club’s future to the best of our ability, always acting in the Club’s best interests.

“Despite the fierce criticism and accusations that I believe have been made about me and the board, I believe we have done a remarkable job to get the club from a payroll of £2.2m plus employers’ NI, facing liquidation, which was legally advised to us in the first instance, to the position it is in now.

“So a little battered and bruised and extremely exhausted with rugby work and commitments I am able to remove myself from the Club and leave it in the capable hands of the remaining board of directors without owing anybody anything significant, save for AB Sundecks with a solid, sustainable budget which is self-sufficient and money in the bank, not having taken a penny in revenue from fans or sponsors.

“This means that every penny now introduced to the Club is to the benefit of its future not historic debt.”

Leigh are expected to confirm the signing of a number of players in the coming days.