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Without Derek Beaumont, Leigh would be bankrupt

Rather than being favorites for promotion to the Super League, Leigh Centurions would now be bankrupt without owner Derek Beaumont.

That’s the view of rugby league great Lee Briers who thinks every other club in the Championship would love to have Beaumont as chairman.

Briers was talking to Love Rugby League Podcast in a wider discussion of how rugby league should be ‘reinvented’ following an IMG survey probing the opinion of everyone within the sport.

“We have to move with the times,” says Briers, who feels relegated Toulouse should have been protected.

“The Catalans got a three-year exemption (from relegation) and look at them now. That works.

“Leigh has had ups and downs. If they didn’t have Derek Beaumont, Leigh would be bankrupt by now. It’s only through Derek’s generosity and absolute commitment to this club that they are where they are. Lots of people hate Derek Beaumont but he puts his money where his mouth is. I bet the whole league would love him as president, 100 per cent.”

Briers on restructuring

Briers believe the future of British rugby league is in a 10-team Super League with another 10-team competition below. And Toulouse, whose relegation is now confirmed, should be part of these 10 elite teams.

“I would do two 10s. I don’t think we have enough players for 14 teams.

“But if we are realistic and real, then Toulouse must be in the game. If we’re serious we need a strong French connection and we need to grow the game. I understand it’s still a Nordic sport, and I’d like to see a team from Cumbria, I think it’s time for this too. I was in Barrow over the weekend and absolutely loved it but there were 2000 there which is not sustainable.

“Look at Toronto and Bradford – up, down, gone. Unless you have someone with money, it’s not sustainable. With a three-year plan, you can sign younger players and play them, you can’t do that in the first year when you have to go all out. We need stability.

“The Challenge Cup was from May to August, back in May and now back in August. What’s going on? It’s not working. Sometimes I think we’re not stable and we we have no plan. Hope IMG will pull through.

PODCAST: Lee Briers on NRL ambition, Wigan honor and Super League restructuring

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