Derek Beaumont has provided his thoughts on how the IMG grading system works, or doesn’t work, in a tell-all interview on the Leigh Leopards Youtube channel.
Beaumont discussed plenty of the inner workings of the IMG system, one that is based upon five pillars of scoring for a cumulative total of 20 points with clubs needing 15 or more to be recognised as Grade A clubs.
The pillars that teams get scored on are; fandom, performances, finances, stadium and community, however the Leigh owner has taken particular exception to one of those categories.
Discussing community, in which 1.5 of the available 2.5 points come based on the ‘area population divided by number of clubs in the area’, Beaumont bemoaned how unfair it was as he offered up an alternative.
He explained: “I don’t believe that anybody should be graded at anything that they can’t control themselves to improve. Short of moving our club out of Leigh, we can’t change that score.
“I think that just needs removing or re-rewarding based on number of fans that we have from America, South Africa or PNG, as I’m sure other clubs do when you sign overseas players. I just don’t see that we’re restricted to working within the area of Wigan and Leigh.
“I just think that needs to go and I’m pretty confident that it will because I don’t think it gets a lot of support you get a lot of support.”
Of course the Leopards had a brilliant season in 2023 and keen to continue that Beaumont has helped see the club retain all but two of their players, whilst also adding more talent including NRL star and former Australian international Matt Moylan.
Whilst this is hugely exciting for the Leopards fans Beaumont went on to explain how IMG has created a safety net in effect, and that his team’s chances of staying in Super League would be just as strong with or without the recruitment of talents such as Moylan.
“I could have not done the Matt Moylan deal,” he added, continuing: “He’s a marquee signing and I could have saved that money for the club and just gone with what we had and likewise the one more player that we’re looking to bring in.
“I could just not bother investing into that either because it doesn’t really matter whether we’re Grade A or C, we’re going to be in Super League no matter what.
“For me, I want to be signing Matt Moylan. I want to be signing the next player that we’re working on because I want us to look as good as we can on the pitch. I want us to have the best players playing for the Leopards. I don’t want to be just fumbling along. I think the pressure of relegation and the prize of promotion I’ve always said needs to exist.
“I’m not being anti-the system, I’m not being anti IMG, I’m just outlining my personal thoughts on it commercially as a businessman.”
Beaumont was also keen to recognise that he shouldn’t be pointing out flaws without offering up solutions, and in turn he offered up alternative plans.
“I think there’s strength in what they’re trying to do and why we’re trying to do it, but there’s flaws within that and we need to get together and work out how as a sport we can change that or move that.
“Maybe that’s going to 14 teams and bringing the champ to a 14 competition and saying listen this is the best 28 club. Maybe it’s eventually getting to 16.”