Leigh Centurions have now been advised by the Rugby Football League that their application to have an under 18's Academy team in the 2007 Season has been rejected.
Leigh Centurions appealed the decision of the Performance Department. That appeal was heard by the RFL Board represented by Executive Chairman of the Rugby Football League, Richard Lewis and Chief Operating Officer and Finance Director Nigel Wood.
It was a unanimous decision of the RFL Board that they had to support the Performance Department's decision to reject Leigh's application in the wider interest of maintaining standards in the Academy.
The Performance Department had come to the conclusions that the failure of Leigh to maintain the requisite standards, was such that it felt that it could not support this year's application.
This decision was made prior to the involvement of the new Chairman, Chief Executive and the new members of the Board. The Appeal Board regretted taking the decision and it was unfortunate that the previous regime of the Club would be hampering the new individuals involved, of whom the RFL had significant respect as individuals and confidence in them, in taking Leigh forward in the future.
The RFL Board have asked the Performance Department to assist Leigh and the individual players concerned to alleviate the situation, which may entail the playing of friendly matches and possibly the extension the under 21's squad.
This is currently the situation, it is very difficult for Leigh to resign itself to be without an under 18's this year. But with the recent appointment of Gary Eccleston and with the support of the RFL Performance Department, the club is very positive about the future prospects and the reinstatement of an under 18's team, hopefully for the 2008 season.
Chief Executive Allan Rowley comented,
"We are very disappointed at the decision but we have to live with it. Our primary concern at the moment is the players and coaching staff, but you can rest assured that we will be doing everything possible along with the assistance of the RFL Performance Department to ensure that their future is still with Leigh Centurions."