Championship clubs must be considered in any RL season revamp says Leigh chief

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont understands Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell’s stance of not investing should relegation remain in a remodelled season – but says promotion-chasing clubs need to be considered too.

Hudgell wants assurances over what happens with 2020 promotion and relegation if the campaign is reduced or compromised, and says he would be “crazy” to put more money in if relegation remains in a skewed season.

But Beaumont – whose backing helped Leigh to promotion in 2016 – says clubs in the Championship would be equally reluctant to invest should the door this season be shut.

Talking to this week’s Back Chat programme, Beaumont said: “Neil is an intelligent guy who has put a lot of money in at Hull KR. He’s been down, survived it – there's a lot of similarities to my story and I have empathy for his situation and he does mine.

“If you look at the situation, we're both faced with a decision. If somebody said to me the season was void and no promotion I'm left in a situation where I've invested in a team I think is going to give us a good chance of getting up.

“I wouldn't have spent that money on a team that can't get promoted because it's pointless.

“Similarly, Neil is faced with a decision where if the plug is going to go, he might as well pull it now before putting a load more money in.

“I appreciate there's no certainty with Covid and when it's going to end, so what we have to do is put some certainty around things we can control.

“We can control saying nobody is going to get relegated and we can control saying somebody is still going to get promotion.”

Beaumont has rejected a suggestion from one Super League administrator that would see that scenario happen, but then two teams be relegated in 2021.

Beaumont added: “I've been approached by a Super League chairman about it being a 13-team competition and two go down the following year.

“I wouldn't be keen on that because staying in Super League is a tough gig as I've found out twice before. But trying to stay in there by beating two other teams is even more difficult.

“If they were going 13 with a view to 14 the year after that might be something to look at.

“The most important part of that conversation is that decision is solely made by the RFL. It's not a Super League decision – the RFL will decide that.”

* Back Chat airs on FreeSports on Thursday at 5pm Freeview 64 Sky 422 Virgin 553 Freesat 252 Bt 64.

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