Leigh chairman gives honest view on the RFL and the future of rugby league

Derek Beaumont fined

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont is renowned for his outspoken views, and he’s now had his say on the future of rugby league and those who run it.

In response to a question asked by BBC Radio Manchester about whether rugby league could once more become a part-time sport, three decades after it had turned professional, Beaumont was unsure, but spoke highly of all those involved.

“At a £17 million valuation it certainly is heading nearer that with how many clubs that money has to look after,” Beaumont said.

“Ralph Rimmer, the head of the RFL, is very positive at all of this in terms of looking at the laws of the game and seeing what we can do to change.

“He wants to see it change and wants to grow – if that wasn’t the case we’d be in trouble.

“So we’ve got a collective body and clubs at Super League and Championship level that all want to go in the same direction.

“There is some external interest there as well, but a lot of clubs, the governing body and super league have loans so they’re not in a strong place.”

In terms of where future investment would lie, Beaumont does believe that private equity is the way forward – and explained just how that could be done.

“You need investment to grow the sport – it’s not a rich sport, but we need money to grow the game, a lot of sports and business sell part of their business or capital for investment and make it bigger.

“The simple question is this is, if you’d sell 30% of your business for x amount of pounds, the question is would owning the last 70% be more lucrative than owning 100% of what you’ve got now?

“It’s not just the money but bringing in an equity partner that can bring value and has experience in growing sport is vital too.

“I’m with private equity, there wasn’t a vision before.

“There needs to be a route that enables us to grow the income from sponsorship and broadcasting, that’s the only way we can do it otherwise we’re stuck in the mud.”

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