LEIGH Centurions will not be taking part in rugby league's proposed Autumn competition.

The club owner Derek Beaumont has issued a statement spelling out the reasons why they will not take part.

The focus will now be on gearing up the side for the 2021 campaign to secure promotion to Super League.

Beaumont said: "I have tried all year to get the Championship going and have accepted that was not going to happen with a meaningful season and that we would have no opportunity for promotion.

"I put forward our Club's interest in the Autumn competition as I wanted our players who have remained in great shape to be able to have the opportunity to play some rugby and more importantly to repay the fantastic loyalty shown to us by our sponsors and season ticket holders that has been overwhelming.

"As a result of that support, as previously communicated, I increased the budget for 2021 playing roster and John Duffy spoke to each player regarding where he was at in an honest manner.

"We lost a couple of players we wouldn't have wanted to and therefore set out on our recruitment drive to bring in Super League players for next year's challenge. This means that the dates proposed for the Autumn competition cannot work for our squad as it would be unfair to expect players who have come from a crammed season to continue playing in November and December which would in mine and my coaches opinions, be against player welfare. It would also see us forgo a pre-season to the disadvantage of those not competing in it, which is a big part of the preparation and would hinder our opportunities for the Club's main focus which is to get promoted to Super League in 2021.

"I am happy to remove my team and staff from furlough immediately and get cracking on a competition that ends before our players' contracts do but other teams are unwilling or unable to do so for their own reasons.

"Therefore, I have to reluctantly accept that despite all my best endeavours and suggestions we will not be able to return to the field this season with a team I genuinely thought would have achieved our goal.

"I would like to thank all the players and coaching staff for their excellent commitment to their home training regimes to be ready to play and for their commitment to the club in pre-season and the games they played.

"I wish the players that have moved on to different clubs for whatever reason the best of luck for their futures and look forward to adding our targets to the core of the squad that have and are being re-signed.

"I would like to reiterate the appreciation of the Board to all our outstanding sponsors and season ticket holders for their unrivalled and generous support which will be repaid with the squad we assemble for 2021 which wouldn't have been possible without it. I would finally like to thank Leigh Sports Village and Simon and his team for their support throughout to make the stadium available for behind closed doors and socially distanced attendances.

"To have such a facility and the staff operating it behind us would have made it possible for us to comply with all the difficulties of playing during the pandemic with minimum impact on our staffing resources.

"Finally, I would like to wish the remaining teams the best of luck with the competition which I hope they are still able to make a fist of in particular with it being the 125th year of the sport.

"I am confident our sponsors and supporters will understand the decision and what is important in all of this is the clubs main goal and nothing should be done to compromise that nor the welfare of the players"