When the news broke that Bradford, Castleford, Hull KR, Leigh and Salford had been unsuccessful in gaining or maintaining an academy license, the rugby league fraternity was bitterly disappointed. Here is how just some people reacted on Twitter.
One user pointed to the idea that this would diminish the amount of stars produced not increase it.
It's the completely wrong call @TheRFL have done it again, You need to grow the Youth, Academy & Reserve grades not just shrink them you should have been promoting club to get academy's. It just shrink the opportunities an killing the sport slowly.
Well done again 👏 👏 https://t.co/ODCJokEPYd
— Cas Tigers Heritage (@Est__1926) May 21, 2021
Honestly baffles me that the RFL are taking away some clubs’ Academy license, stripping hundreds of kids of the opportunity to play academy footy and taking away pathways to play Super League. No wonder the games on it’s knees
— Kobe Poching (@KobePoching) May 21, 2021
Another pointed to the amount of players that have come through one club’s – Bradford – ranks.
How can Bradford, who have produced as much top level academy talent as any other club in the history of RL, not be granted an academy license – this game is going to ruin itself https://t.co/WDnEqMoQ14
— Sean (@Sean_Goss1) May 21, 2021
One Twitter user highlighted how those teams who no longer have an academy will suffer.
Monumental news that Hull KR and Castleford haven’t been granted Academy licences for 2022-2027. Hope they can get a good college system in place but hard to imagine them competing with Hull FC and Wakefield, for example, for the best talent now
— ᴀᴀʀᴏɴ ʙᴏᴡᴇʀ (@AaronBower) May 21, 2021
That said there were those who believed the decision was a good one as it may prompt clubs to improve their academies and raise the standard of the game.
I'd be more worried if the RFL were just endorsing whatever old horlicks any club puts together and calls an academy. Get people to raise their game rather than drag everyone down to mediocre for a change. https://t.co/0m8BPPuuSg
— Jon Smalldon (@jonsmalldon) May 21, 2021
No one to blame but the current owners the #DewsburyBulls
If clubs don't meet the required criteria what do expect the RFL to do?
— Matthew Clough (@fieldheadrhino1) May 21, 2021
Meanwhile, another fan simply enjoyed the inconsistent and contradictory arguments of angry fans.
She chose to ignore the fact officially none of them are ‘Lancashire’ and only ‘3’ where elite anyway 😩😭🤣
I honestly love a good rugby league meltdown 😭🤣
— Amy Louise 🤓💕 (@aymeebredin) May 21, 2021
Another Twitter user said it was a “sad day for Hull Kingston Rovers”.
Reading in between the lines it seems only 1⃣ Academy License was ever going to be granted in Hull.
The talent pool in the our area seems to have been deemed not big enough to sustain 2⃣ Elite Academies.
A sad day for Hull Kingston Rovers and all aspiring red and whites.
— Johno (@JohnsonForza) May 21, 2021
A certain Featherstone Rover and former Castleford Tiger also waded in to the debate.
Denying clubs an opportunity to run a academy because they don’t meet the elite standards but now instead have no academy whatsoever, how does that benefit anyone? Shambles.
— Junior Moors (@Jnrmoors) May 21, 2021
A current Castleford Tiger was baffled by the decision too.
Can’t get my head around this 🤯
— DANIEL SMITH 🇬🇧 (@smithdaniel1) May 21, 2021
That view seemed to be the consensus.
Shocking decision this. Especially for Cas. An absolute hotbed of potential Super League talent. I wonder how many players in SL are from Castleford? And if you factor in population size I bet Cas is punching above its weight. Terrible decision. I hope the RFL reconsiders asap.
— Luke Heyes (@luke_heyes) May 21, 2021
Another rugby league fan cited the lack of players already in the game and how this decision would not help.
Absolute joke that clubs have been cut especially Hull KR. How was that decision taken given last year was the first year and was COVID impacted. The game needs more players not less to survive and you have taken that decision. A joke of a management decision.
— Ian Carr (@IanCarr16285869) May 21, 2021
One follower felt very strongly on the matter.
What exactly is your end game here?
Fewer academies means fewer prospects for youngsters means fewer people bothering with RL means less overall interest in RL.
Rugby Union spent a century trying to stamp out League, now you're doing it for them.
— Big Shep (@Shepardo35) May 21, 2021
One pointed to the hardships that kids would now go through.
Marvellous… There was me thinking the kids haven’t had it rough enough the last 12-18 months. 👌🏼
— Ben Cockayne (@BenCockayne83) May 21, 2021
Another called for each Super League side to have an academy.
All clubs in top flight should have to have an academy and anyone wishing promotion too. Even if that was just an official link with a current community club. We cannot put barriers up to prevent young players, we should be striving for more
— Tim Caulfield (@timcaulfield) May 21, 2021
Another echoed that sentiment.
Surely it would benefit the game if all clubs had academy pathways? Full time and part time clubs need a flow of players coming through, with the abolishment of service area rugby, the alteration of the scholarship/academy systems and no reserves! Rugby league is going backwards!
— David Dale (@daveidale) May 21, 2021
One Twitter user believed that if a club can run an academy it should be able to.
Why should you need a licence to have an academy? If you can run one, you should be allowed to.
— Mark Webster (@DoctorBadvibes) May 21, 2021
One Wakefield fan was hoping that the news would enable them to get the best players in the Wakefield area instead of competing with Castleford!
Wakey awarded an academy license but Castleford aren’t, hopefully this means we can get a first pick of the talent in that area! https://t.co/h5DJNPelVb
— Down at Belle Vue (@downatbellevue) May 21, 2021
Someone did, however, point to the clubs’ fault in being rejected for a license.
Don't want to get shot here but, there's been a lot of finger pointing at the RFL today over the academy licenses but I've seen very few angry at their own clubs for not getting their house in order to make sure they get a license.
— Bradley Asquith (@BradAsquith7) May 21, 2021