Another blow for rugby league in Manchester as Salford Red Devils academy falls short of Category 1

Salford Red Devils today became the only Super League club to fail to reach the requirements for a category 1 standard academy system.

The Rugby Football League decided which clubs’ academies reached the required standard after an in-depth analysis of performance and organisation within the academies.

RFL director of performance and coaching Jon Roberts had this to say on website Love Rugby League about the Red Devils’ failure to reach the category 1 standard:

“Whilst it is disappointing that two clubs do not meet Category 1 standard, we will continue to work with Salford and London to help them address the issues they are having with their Academies.

“In the meantime both clubs have been advised to apply for Category 2 Academy status as part of the ongoing Category 2 accreditation process.”

The news comes in what has been yet another week of turmoil for the Salford club after parting company with head coach Iestyn Harris and suspending captain Rangi Chase pending an internal disciplinary investigation.

Owner Dr Marwan Koukash took over the club in 2013 with the aim of making Salford the biggest club in Super League.

However the Palestine-born business tycoon has failed to generate interest in the Salford and Manchester area, with attendances spiraling towards the 1,000 mark in recent months.

Today’s news suggests that Koukash has failed to invest in the club’s grass roots system of bringing young players through from the Greater Manchester area and instead the likes of Wigan Warriors and St Helens will retain their monopoly on Northwest rugby league talent.

A look through at the Salford first team squad shows that Niall Evalds is the only homegrown player to regularly don the famous red jersey.

In contrast the squads of Wigan Warriors and St Helens are littered with homegrown talent.

As the club look to build the playing squad for next season, today’s announcement could well prove to be the catalyst for Dr Koukash to improve the standard of the club’s academy and generate an appetite for rugby league in young people in the Salford and Manchester area.

Main image courtesy of Super League TV via YouTube, with thanks.

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