Rugby League


23 May 2024

Academy Licences awarded to Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils

Academy Licences awarded to Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils

The RFL Board have approved a recommendation to award three-year Academy Licences to Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils.

The recommendation was made by a five-strong panel chaired by Paul Prescott, the former Wigan Warriors and Ireland forward who is now the Premier League’s Head of Operations – Football Development, and was appointed in January as a member of the RFL’s new Performance and Coaching Sub-Committee.

In the recommendation, he noted that “both clubs demonstrated they had listened to the feedback from the RFL in 2021 and shaped their application to address previous concerns. The liaison between the RFL and both clubs since 2021 was clearly visible and resulted in solid, clear applications”.

The awards take the number of RFL-approved Academy Licences to 12.

Paul Medley, the RFL’s National Talent Progression Manager, will now work with the two clubs on the details of their licences ahead of 2025.

Paul Medley said:

“Congratulations are due to both Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils for the positive and constructive way in which they have responded to the disappointment of missing out on an Academy Licence in 2021, culminating in the decision to award them three-year licences from 2025-27.

“The Panel assessed the applications over four key areas: leadership and management; meeting the needs of the players; programme delivery; and finance.

“The applications of both clubs were found to meet the necessary standards across these four areas, with their applications highlighting the importance of working with educational institutions to offer a dual career development pathway, and of boosting junior participation in schools and clubs – with a focus on hard-to-reach groups to diversify their talent pool.

“Following the success of Bradford Bulls, Castleford Tigers and Hull KR in converting the probationary licences they were awarded in 2021 into full licences, we now have 12 approved licences for the remainder of this six-year period - such an important part of the Rugby League development pathway.”

In addition to Paul Prescott and Paul Medley, the panel members were: Marc Lovering (RFL Director of Development and Participation), Dr Dave Rotheram (former RFL Chief On-Field Officer), and Peter Stephenson (RFL Professional Game Registration Manager).