Despite returning to Super League, London Broncos have reportedly put an end to their academy sides ahead of the 2024 season.
This is a truly sad update given the talented players we have seen come through in the capital and the belief that IMG can get rugby league to thrive in the capital.
This news has come from a wide range of reports including notorious coach Lee Addison who posted on his Facebook page RugbyLeagueCoach: “This news is huge, been tipped off that London Broncos have pulled out their Academy and Scholarship sides…there is no longer a pathway in the south of England….this is very fresh news.”
This is ultimately a strange u-turn for the club it seems who are on the up having gained promotion to Super League and recently agreed a sponsorship deal with cutting edge toy and entertainment studio Toikido.
Speaking on the partnership and Toikido’s move into rugby league, London Broncos head of commercial Mark Kemp says it represents a significant move for the club. It’s great to have brought another new name to the sport, and one that is capturing the imagination of so many young people right now.
“Here at Broncos we are excited at the opportunities that this partnership could bring and look forward to further conversations on how the brands could work and develop together in the future.”
Darran Garnham, the founder and CEO of Toikido, commented on the announcement, saying, “At Toikido, we have a passion for doing things differently and appearing in places that people wouldn’t necessarily expect.
“London Broncos are a first-class club, with a great spirit and loyal following. So naturally, we couldn’t wait to work together and bring Piñata Smashlings to a whole new audience. It’s been a pleasure putting this agreement together with Mark and a testament to the London Broncos who always strive for the best on behalf of their fans, whether on or off the pitch.”
But despite this boost, the boost of the new faces in the squad and the overall positivity around returning to Super League, they are still set to end their academies with an official announcement expected.
This comes as the Leigh Leopards begin their reserves team in 2024 and continue to push for an academy of their own.
Meanwhile, Castleford Tigers and Bradford Bulls have both been granted Elite Academy licences after toiling for this so it seems a strange move from the Broncos.