It’s been almost a month since the preliminary IMG grades were handed down but Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont has finally reacted to them, calling out the lowly grading of newly promoted London Broncos.
The Broncos were handed a rating that saw them place 24th out of the 35 professional clubs, being handed the lowest grade among all Grade B teams.
Whilst the gradings are preliminary and won’t take effect until the 2025 season it’s been suggested by many that London cannot possibly earn enough points in 2024 to off balance their deficit, meaning they face certain relegation at the end of the upcoming campaign.
Of course that doesn’t sit right with many fans, including neutrals, and one man who has now taken issue is Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont labelling the decision as “not right”.
Beaumont hadn’t reacted to his own club’s score in the weeks since the grading and in a video shared to the Leopards Youtube channel he immediately addressed the London issue, before even touching upon his own club.
He began his statement reacting to London’s lowly grade, declaring: “The big issue in my mind that it immediately portrays is talking about London coming in around the 20th on points, where basically there’s absolutely nothing that they can do that sees them in Super League (in 2025).Knowing that before you start a campaign, I think that’s an issue.”
Beaumont did acknowledge how London’s shock promotion could have played into their rating, but ensured to note the awkward nature of the situation.
He continued: “I think also that’s probably blindsided them because of where they were so to have finished in the playoffs was remarkable. Then to have won them, I think Mike (Eccles) did an outstanding job. It’s great to see that success but I just feel that it’s very awkward for us a sport to have a team in their that basically has no real purpose.”
With London looking so likely to suffer relegation on account of the major gap in their grade and those currently in the top 12, approximately a five point swing, Beaumont argued it gave other Super League teams in 2024 a safety blanket.
Referencing Salford, who he described as his ‘second team’, and their controversial sale of players over the past year including Tyler Dupree, Andy Ackers and Brodie Croft, Beaumont explained a scenario that could happen.
Commenting on how important the financial pillar is, he stated: “So you could argue, and it’s not a criticism by the club, that London have nothing to play for coming into the competition. So Salford might as well sell everybody anyway, because their score, per se, even if you finish bottom, will still see them as part of the 12.
“I’m not really sure how that sits, so there’s some tweaking in and around that. but the actual idea of it, driving standards and things, is obviously something I support.”