Castleford Tigers determined to challenge RFL Elite Academy Licence edict

Castleford Tigers have launched a formal challenge of the RFL’s decision not to award the club an Elite Academy Licence for 2022-27 labelling the process as “unfair”.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 8:30 pm

Along with Hull KR and Bradford Bulls, they were stunned on Friday when told their elite status would be removed after this season.

The RFL cut the number of elite academies from 13 to 10 - despite up to 12 licences being made available.

In a lengthy statement last night, Castleford said: “In the opinion of Castleford Tigers the process was unfair to clubs with long-standing Academy products still within their club, and still within Super League.

“Castleford believes that the club is currently fourth in the table for Super League appearances made by Academy products who are currently playing in Super League.

“This is further evidenced by nine homegrown players in Castleford’s 21-man squad declaration ahead of the Super League fixture against Leeds Rhinos on Friday night.”

It added: “Over the last five years, our young talents have drawn the attention of many clubs from both codes.

“That not only demonstrates their ability but the fact players are happy in our youth environment, as well as feel our provision is meeting their needs as young players. Despite generous contract offers these players committed their future to our club for such reasons.”

Sam Hall is a product of Castleford Tigers' TTP - the Tigers Talent Pathway. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Tigers says they have increased investment in youth provision staff and point to the academy’s positive involement with the community.

“Our Tigers Talent Pathway (TTP) is an incredibly popular programme that gets children from under 12 to under 16 levels involved in a variety of high-quality sessions which could then lead on to joining our youth system,” it added.

“The prime example of this pathway is exhibited by both Sam Hall and Lewis Peachey who were both involved in our TTP programme at a young age. They progressed into our Academy system and the pair have gone on to make senior appearances in Super League.”

It said the RFL’s decision is “detrimental to the welfare and careers of 70 plus young players the club has on its youth programmes, to the Tigers’ local community clubs who have players who dream of playing for Castleford Tigers, and to long-term planning of homegrown talent playing at our club.”

Tigers Talent Pathway beneficiary Lewis Peachey. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.