St Helens among 10 clubs granted elite Academy licence
Betfred Super League champions St Helens are one of 10 clubs awarded elite academy licences for 2022-27 and are joined by Catalans Dragons, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, London Broncos, Newcastle Thunder, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.
The licensing process had been delayed since 2019, partly as a result of the disruption caused by Covid-19, but during recent months an expert panel convened by the RFL and Super League Europe had considered 15 applications.
Key decisions that were agreed by the clubs before the process began were for the licence term to be extended to six years, because of the long-term nature of player development, and for the importance of the community game
This led to an agreement that a maximum of 12 licences should be awarded – up to nine in 'core affinity areas”, up to two in 'emerging affinity areas,' and one in France.
The rationale for this was :
(1) To ensure that academies are operated sensitively and proportionately to the continuing good health of the community game.
(2) That the number of players selected for academies is proportionate to the number of players within the community game at the relevant age and that the players selected have a genuine opportunity of progressing into Super League and national teams.
(3) That the talent pool is extended beyond the traditional heartland of the sport.
*Clubs, whose applications were unsuccessful, have been provided with detailed feedback on areas for improvement, and advised that they will be able to reapply in 2024.