Championship side Widnes Vikings have announced they will cease the operation of their Academy.
The youth system has been a cornerstone of the club over the past decade, producing over 30 players who have gone on to represent the first team, with some going on to gain international recognition.
Despite this, a number of challenges have presented themselves in recent times which have made it more difficult to sustain an Academy for the Vikings.
Firstly, the Covid-19 pandemic and associated financial and logistical challenges has placed further constraints on the club.
Also, current Academy licenses across the sport are due to expire at the end of 2021. The club believe a Super League licence, and the ability to attract non-heartland players will be considered.
In a short statement, the club said: “After exploring every alternative avenue, the combination of these factors has led the club to make this decision.
“Ultimately, there are insufficient resources available at present to support both a competitive first team and an environment of the appropriate quality necessary for the development of young players.”
They say they will now help players in the academy find another club.