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LIONS & TIGERS BACK JOSH

Leicester and Sheffield pledge to give Josh Bates “all the time and space he needs” to deal with “personal issues” after he quit the sport.

11 / 12 / 2017, 10:39

Leicester and Sheffield have pledged to give British prospect Josh Bates “all the time and space he needs” to deal with “personal issues” after he announced his retirement from the sport over the weekend.

Bates stunned fans by revealing he was quitting the sport, despite impressing in both the Premiership and Championship this year, helping local club Sheffield to a famous title win.

The news he was retiring shocked his clubs, which are both owned by his uncle Damien Bates. It would come as a huge blow to their team-building plans as riders get snapped up in both leagues.

But having held talks with the management, Lions and Tigers both released similar statements, insisting they were standing by Bates.

The Lions statement read: “Leicester have held talks with youngster Josh Bates after he announced his retirement on social media.

“The news came as a shock to many but it is now clear the youngster has personal issues he is struggling to deal with.

“Leicester, along with his Championship club Sheffield, will give him all the time and space he needs to deal with these difficulties.

“He is, without doubt, a very popular rider and the club and Josh himself would like to offer their thanks for the messages of support he has received since making the announcement.”

While posts about his retirement have been deleted from social media, Bates did post a message of thanks for the support he has received on Twitter. He tweeted: “Just a quick note to thank you all for your support. It means a lot. JB”

 

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