If there was ever a rugby league chairman to listen to, it’s Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont.
An incredibly hard worker, brilliant charity fundraiser and successful businessman, Beaumont built himself and his business from scratch and is now reaping the rewards.
In rugby league terms, the Mancunian is desperate to see his beloved Leigh reach the sport’s highest echelon – the Super League – and has bankrolled the Centurions to make it happen.
Beaumont has already overseen a victory in the 1895 Cup – named after his company, AB Sundecks – with Leigh leading the Championship.
But Beaumont wants to see the whole structure of the sport changed to drastically reduce the disparity between the first and second tiers and help bridge the financial gap.
“I believed strongly in two full-time professional leagues of ten teams,” Beaumont told the Dockhouse Rugby Show.
“I entered the Super League by three routes; I entered it through the conventional route of entering the Super League via the Grand Final.
“I did it in the middle of the 8, it was a competitive format as we were asked to play against Super League teams before we were promoted.
“However, those middle 8s meant that four teams were struggling to recruit as they were unsure if the players would come because of the risk, so each format has its pros and cons.”
Leigh, of course, rose to the top flight when the Toronto Wolfpack also pulled out, but Beaumont believes bringing the top two leagues together will be beneficial.
“When you’re relegated you get a parachute payment which creates an unfair disparity because you’re actually a Super League side beating everyone else in the Championship.
“You wonder then if we have a competition with promotion and relegation? If we have a Super League 1 where we have a £1.5m cap and a Super League 2 where we have a £1m cap, the cliff is not that big.
“There is maybe a difference of £250,000 in the parachute payment because that softens the blow and you don’t have to get rid of contracts either. Then you have promotion and relegation.
“Then there would be a third division which would be part-time and parachute payment there.”
“I don’t think we can go to two tens now, but we have to work in that direction. It would be better to go to 14.”
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