London Broncos pull Elite Academy as Super League club point to IMG grading criteria
The Broncos were promoted to Super League with a strong core of homegrown players but their Championship Grand Final success has come at a cost.
An immediate return to the Championship is virtually guaranteed after the capital club were ranked 24th in the indicative phase of a new grading system that does not reward clubs for youth development.
London have therefore decided to focus on other areas for improvement in an attempt to boost their score and ultimately become a Category A club with Super League security.
The Broncos will instead run a pathway programme up to under-18s using the RFL Lions Development Programme to develop rugby league players in the capital.
London's reserve team are unaffected by the restructure, while the club will continue to run a programme in local schools.
"As a club, we still believe in and support the growth of rugby league in London and will continue to help develop players but in a different way," read a statement.
"The academy costs the club roughly £250,000 per year to run, at a cost which has been completely self-funded."
It continued: "Following the recent IMG grading announcement, in which we received a Category B grading, we released a statement to confirm we are wholly committed to working with the RFL and IMG to improve our grading.
"We recognise that this will take time and commitment and therefore have taken the difficult decision to not run the Elite Academy in 2024. All affected parties have been informed and we stress that this is something we will continue to review and could look to revisit in future years.
"With the new IMG grading criteria, clubs are not directly rewarded for running an Elite Academy, so we will focus on other areas to improve the club with the long-term aim of becoming Category A.
"As a club we are proud of our track record of creating opportunities to play rugby league and for providing a pathway to play professional sport in the capital."