Without Derek Beaumont Leigh would be out of business: Briers on major restructure

George Riley
Lee Briers Derek Beaumont

Rather than be favourites for promotion back to Super League, Leigh Centurions would be out of business now had it not been for owner Derek Beaumont.

That’s the view of rugby league great Lee Briers who believes that every other club in the Championship would love to have Beaumont at Chairman.

Briers was speaking to the Love Rugby League podcast in a wider discussion of how rugby league should be “reinvented” in the wake of an IMG survey canvassing opinion from all within the sport.

“We have to move with the times,” says Briers, who believes relegated Toulouse should have been protected.

“Catalans got a three-year exemption (from relegation) and look at them now. It works. 

“Leigh have been up and down. If they didn’t have Derek Beaumont then Leigh would be out of business now. It is only out of Derek’s generosity and absolute commitment to that club that they are where they are.  A lot of people hate Derek Beaumont but he puts his money where his mouth is. I bet all the Championship would love him as chairman, 100%.”

Briers on restructure

Briers believes the future of British rugby league is in a 10-team Super League with another 10-team competition below it. And Toulouse, whose relegation has now been confirmed, should be one of those elite 10 teams.

“I would go two 10s. I don’t think we have enough players for 14 teams. 

“But if we are realistic and real then Toulouse have to be in it. If we are serious then we need a strong French connection and we need to grow the game. I get it that it is always a northern sport, and I would love to see a Cumbrian team, I think it is time for that too. I was at Barrow at the weekend and absolutely loved, but there were 2000 there which isn’t sustainable.

“Look at Toronto and Bradford – up, down, gone. Unless you have a person with money it is not sustainable. With a three-year plan you can pick up younger players and gamble on them, you can’t do that in year one when you have to go full-on. We need stability. 

“The Challenge Cup went from May to August, back to May and now back in August. What’s going on? It doesn’t work. Sometimes I think we are not stable and have no plan. Hopefully IMG sort it out.”

PODCASTLee Briers on NRL ambition, Wigan honour & Super League restructure

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