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Sean Long left Featherstone Rovers because of IMG

Yesterday, Featherstone Rovers shocked everyone when they announced the immediate departure of Warrington Wolves linked Sean Long.

A Super League legend in every sense, Long was worked for Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos and in rugby union as an assistant coach and his first Head Coach role was with Featherstone Rovers as he was tasked with replacing Brian McDermott and doing what he couldn’t and delivering Super League.

According to the club, it is vital they achieve promotion in 2023 due to the IMG grading approach in 2024 onwards which they hinted could work against them.

This is framed by the club as the main reason for his exit after another defeat against their promotion rivals Halifax Panthers despite interest from Warrington Wolves.

The Rovers all but directly mentioned IMG in their statement:

We can confirm that we have today reached agreement with Head Coach Sean Long to part company with immediate effect.

The Club has invested significantly this year to ensure that we give ourselves the best possible chance of promotion to Super League in 2023. The changes in rules that come into effect from 2024 make it extremely difficult to reach this goal in future years so we are committed to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in delivering this objective. The Board have backed this ambition by investing in a playing squad of Super League quality and have been disappointed therefore in this season’s team performance against some of our promotion rivals.
As we reach the countdown to the play-off series, we need to ensure that we maximise the huge potential and high quality of our playing roster and we feel this change will enable us to make the required step up which is required
We would like to place on record our thanks to Sean Long for his contribution to the Club’s efforts this season and wish him well in the future. We would ask our fans to continue to support the Club in their usual way just as they did in such large numbers at Halifax yesterday, we certainly will need their support in hopefully helping us to get over the line this year
We have asked Director of Rugby James Ford to take up the Head Coaching role on an interim basis for the remainder of the year along with Ian Hardman, the Club will make a further assessment of whether we need to invest further in our coaching team.
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