Centurions hold urgent survival talks

LEIGH Centurions are in urgent talks with the Rugby Football League (RFL) and sponsors in a bid to make sure they can continue next season.

A leading Championship club Leigh are in danger of going into liquidation, according to acting chairman Keith Freer.

The club have been in financial crisis since major backer Arthur Thomas was forced to withdraw his support earlier this year and their failure to reach Sunday’s Grand Final was a body blow.

Leigh’s players have not been paid this month and the club are in urgent talks with both the Rugby Football League and sponsors in a bid to prevent them folding.

In a statement, Mr Freer said: “The loss to Sheffield has resulted in a serious cash flow issue which the directors are attempting to resolve.

“There have been intensive talks internally and we have been in deep negotiation with the Rugby Football League, the local authority, Leigh Sporting Village, sponsors, the corporate club and Leigh Independent Supporters’ Association.

“We are assessing urgently what monies are available in the short and medium term to meet all liabilities. At the same time, we are looking forward to what is achievable next season.

“There is a way forward but this will require some very hard decisions to avoid the club going into liquidation.

“The current liabilities are not that great and, with the assistance of a few, we will be able to go forward into next season with a sound financial footing provided everyone rallies behind the club.

“The alternative is we cease to trade and no future for Leigh. This prospect is not acceptable and I know that the supporters of Leigh will expect us to explore every avenue to protect the club.”

Freer said the club hoped to provide more encouraging news at a fans’ forum next Wednesday.

And, Trevor Barton MBE, CEO added: “I have seen at close quarters what the Board is trying to achieve and they are working their socks off to resolve the problem. As you will see at the Fans Forum next week, there will be reports by several members of the Professional Support Group that if we can get through to the next season intact, we have some very exciting initiatives for our club and although the financial situation is at times dispiriting, I am not dismayed by it and continue to work hard at the new model which will be self sustaining and not dependant on a white knight. After the game last week I made some comments which may have caused some fans to be dismayed but I was merely expressing my disappointment after a sensational season with only one loss in the leaague . So I would ask that you keep the faith get behind the club be it the lottery, LISA , the new members club, simply buying season tickets we need you more now than ever before and without you support the future will be bleak.”

“I would ask everyone to celebrate the wonderful performance this season and attend the celebration dinner on the 7th October at which we will honour the players and our thanks to Arthur Thomas and his continued support for Leigh. Let’s make this a great evening and move forward into next season.”

Leigh are currently looking for a new head coach following Ian Millward’s recent appointment at Castleford.