London Broncos’ Head of Youth Development Rob Powell has described the club’s new Elite Academy License as a significant development for the future of Rugby League in the capital.  

The Broncos were confirmed by the RFL as one of 10 clubs in the UK to be awarded the new status which will be operational from the 2022 season until 2027. 

An Elite Academy License allows clubs to recruit young players and develop them through carefully structured scholarship and academy programmes. The Broncos’ new status is an upgrade from the current Category 2 Academy status.

A 100-page document which analysed all elements of provision within the Broncos’ academy including medical, strength and conditioning, coaching and player welfare was submitted. The document also included a six-year visionary plan and four-year development strategy. 

“I would like to thank Chairman David Hughes and CEO Jason Loubser for their dedication to Academy Rugby League in London,” said Powell. “Their support of the Academy and its application has been outstanding. 

“First team coach Danny Ward and his staff have been instrumental too by providing a vision that strives to promote and develop local players and support staff. Without their support plus the London Junior League Committee, the RFL and Community Clubs in our region, this would not be possible. To the parents and players too, all of whom champion our programmes. 

“We are excited about what the future holds. We have an opportunity to drive this forward and create a Super League quality first-team built around our local Academy products.” 

Before licenses were assigned to individual clubs, it was agreed a maximum of 12 would be awarded. Up to nine would be awarded in ‘core affinity areas’, two in ‘emerging affinity areas’ and one in France. 

The panel who made the decision included Air Commodore Dean Andrew OBE, plus Dave Rotheram, Marc Lovering, Samantha Allen and Paul Medley of the RFL. Also on the panel was Duncan Truswell, Sport England’s Strategic Lead for Performance and Talent. 

Powell added: “The announcement means we can continue to provide an aspirational pathway for local players to reach the very highest level of our sport. 

“A huge amount of work has gone into making our Elite Academy status possible and we have continually improved our service to the city’s young players in recent years. 

“Behind our Academy are a very professional group of volunteers, part-time and full-time staff who invest an unbelievable volume of time, emotional energy and determination to make what we deliver possible.”

Other clubs to be awarded Elite Academy Licenses include: Catalans Dragons, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, Newcastle Thunder, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.

To read The RFL statement in full, click here.