Yesterday, Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont was making headlines for what he said after the club’s defeat to Wigan Warriors.
Footage emerged of a rant from Beaumont where he threatened to leave the sport or create a rival competition where referees wouldn’t be the deciding factor in games.
This prompted Ian Smith to hit back on behalf of officials: “If those games in the Ultimate Rugby League aren’t refereed by referees who will referee those games? are the players going to referee them themselves?
“Leigh and Derek have been absolutely fantastic in and for SL this season, over the course of a season decisions generally even themselves out, i wish players mistakes were highlighted as much when looking at defeats, or is it only refs who aren’t allowed to make errors.”
Beaumont had said: “I’ll put it out there because unfortunately this is not an investable sport anymore to me, which is obviously very concerning.
“So unless it changes, I won’t be investing in it any further and I’m sorry to say that in here but when my wife comes up to me and says ‘I’ve had enough’.
“She sees the pain and the emailing all night till midnight and me kids saying ‘I just want to tell you I’m going to bed’ whilst I text Robert back about being fined 15 grand for a pitch invasion at St Helens.
“I haven’t the energy for it. I’ve had enough, we’ve got this (points to Challenge Cup trophy), it’s been brilliant, but for me, unless the game changes and unless the outcome is decided by athletes and coaches, I can’t be involved in it anymore.
“That’s where it’s at and that’s how serious it is, hopefully the game can change but I’ll leave you on a positive. You’ve met my American friends and my South African friends. They’ve got more money than the whole of what Sky give for the game in three years than they could drop out their arse end in a week.
“So maybe what you will see is me step out of this charade and set up a proper, super league, called ‘Ultimate Rugby’ with proper rugby players, where it’s not decided by the referees, it’s decided by the athletes because that’s the only alternative.
“We won’t need a broadcaster that stands my coach down and says, ‘oh we’re not going to interview you now because we’re just going to do the presentation so we’ll speak to you after that’. Is that not disrespectful in the highest order?”