Super League welcomes RFL academy licence U-turn

Super League interim chairman Ken Davy has welcomed the RFL’s decision to hand Elite Academy licences to Castleford and Hull KR. 

The Super League duo, alongside Championship side Bradford, were originally omitted from a list of clubs granted elite status for the period 2022-2027.

The licensing process had been delayed from the end of 2019 due to COVID, and had previously agreed that a maximum of 12 licences would be awarded – up to nine in ‘core affinity areas’, up to two in ‘emerging affinity areas’ and up to one in France.

Many of the game’s high-profile names, including Jamie Peacock, Sam Burgess and John Bateman, were products of the Bulls’ academy setup, while several of Castleford’s current first team squad were brought through their own player pathway.

Bradford youth product John Bateman enjoyed a successful spell in the NRL with Canberra Raiders

Bradford, Castleford and Hull KR have now been granted probationary Elite Academy licences, initially for a two-year period, which will be kept under regular review.

The RFL say they will also work with Leigh and Salford, the two other unsuccessful Elite Academy licence applicants, to consolidate their Development Academies and surrounding community playing base.

On the announcement, Davy said: “The RFL have made the right choice in changing their decision on Elite Academy licences for two Super League clubs, Castleford and Hull KR.

“We need to be encouraging as many youngsters as possible to pursue their interest and involvement in rugby league right through to joining the professional game, and academies are the key route for them to achieve that objective.

“There is no doubt that Super League clubs sit at the very heart of many of their local communities. In doing so, they play a massive role with schools and the wider public, in encouraging young people into sport and helping them develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“It is also a reality that running an academy is an expensive undertaking for any club, therefore if a club wishes to operate an academy, they should be supported and encouraged to do so.”

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