The RFL have confirmed that 12 clubs have been awarded Category 1 Academy status following a detailed assessment of their performance and structure.
This is the first time that clubs have been assessed to such rigorous criteria, as the sport looks to build on the successful Academy accreditation system that has taken place in each of the last four years.
This is in large part because of the excellence of their junior development programmes from age 12 and upwards.
This comes after they have been adjudged to have made significant improvements over the last year.
Castleford Tigers were rated as ‘requires improvement’, but the assessment did recognise the progress the club has made since last year.
“This is the fifth year that we conducted an audit process and I am pleased to report that the trend continues to be one of improvement as clubs strive for excellence throughout their Academy programmes,” RFL director of performance and coaching Jon Roberts said.
“Whilst it is disappointing that two clubs do not meet Category 1 standard, we will continue to work with Salford and London to help them address the issues they are having with their Academies.
“In the meantime both clubs have been advised to apply for Category 2 Academy status as part of the ongoing Category 2 accreditation process.”
Under the accreditation process, clubs are assessed in three key areas:
Quality of leadership and management – the strategy and vision of the Academy and progress made;
How well Academies meet the needs of players – the welfare, education and safeguarding that is in place;
Delivery of player development system – the approaches used to optimise the development of players through to first grade and England.