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Crossroads


By Carnegiette2
May 29 2020

Which way to turn? Rugby (particularly professional rugby) in England is at a crossroads yet none of the ways forward are clear. How do we restart the game? Will the 6 Nations be completed? What do CVC want for their money? Will there be clubs going out of business? The pandemic has certainly  exacerbated the issues but a large number of them were coming anyway and money is at the heart of the problems.

The RFU are reputedly skint with talk of cutting funding to all levels of the game. CVC have their stake in the Premiership and the Pro 14, and are targeting the 6 Nations (COVID meaning their offer likely to be less).  It’s hard to see anything other than the future of the English professional game involving only a tiny elite minority in the future.

In the meantime there’s a global pandemic – where rugby is probably the sport most affected given the high levels of contact. Amendments to the laws to minimize contact are universally unpopular, however may represent the only route to a return any time soon.

At the top of the pyramid rumours continually surround the financial stability of a number of Premiership Clubs. BT Sport have committed to pay the final round of TV payments, which may ease the pain, but there is no consensus on a return to playing. Players have been furloughed or had wage cuts imposed.  It is rumoured Sale have returned to training, and the stated aim (financially driven) is to finish the season. When or how is unknown. Assuming a return to playing can be agreed Sarries playing in 2 leagues at the same time remains a possibility.

In the Championship RFU funding cuts were announced pre-Covid. Then the season ended in March. This has left a funding hole – with no certainty over what is to fill it (other than benefactors digging more deeply). At least 3 clubs in the league will be semi-pro next season. 2 other clubs have crowdfunded – essentially using next year’s money to pay this year’s costs. Another has agreed cuts to players and staff wages for next season. The RFU’s aim of this being a professional league is in tatters- it’s likely the semi-pro model will become the norm and the gap to the Premiership becoming even bigger, which will put ringfencing back on the table (has it ever been off it?). Below this clubs rely on the goodwill of their members, using their facilities to generate income and/or benefactors who get no return for their money. Closer to home Otley too are crowdfunding to survive.

At all levels of the game the ability of benefactors to support what can only be vanity projects will be tested by an inevitable recession. We know all too well what happens when your backer pulls out and it’s not pretty. Phil Davies is talking optimistically about the YC (or LC/LT) future but there’s currently no certainty that we the fans are aware of.

I have no idea how this will end. I can only hope that greater brains than mine can find solutions and  in the not too distant future we will get back to what we took for granted – watching our team play this great sport.

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Crossroads
Discussion started by TykesRugby.co.uk (IP Logged), 29/05/2020 16:38
TykesRugby.co.uk
TykesRugby.co.uk
29/05/2020 16:38
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:08:09:22:18:10 by almostatyke.

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
29/05/2020 18:02
Good summary of the confusing situation rugby finds itself at present C2.

(Sm134)

MESSAGES->author
leemingtyke
29/05/2020 22:38
Nice bit of writing that Carnegiette.

The RFU have long said that they're committed to a fully professional Championship and we all knew it wasn't true. This year they've showed their true colours.

Ironically, the club least affected (apart from the ones with super-rich owners, obviously) is us because we're perfectly capable of destroying our own club without any outside interference from the RFU or anyone else.

Looks like the years of chronic mis-management paid off eh!.

leeds_shark
WPL*
30/05/2020 18:03
Interesting read C2!

I can see a 3 stage return to rugby, no idea on timescales but my thoughts are:-

1) Premiership returns to finish the season
2) England get some games to try and manage the RFU debts
3) the rest get to play

I think this would stop the problems of Saracens playing in 2 divisions at once. What's also noticeable is the lack of transfer activity as such, I would think if the clubs had an idea when games would be back on then people would be moving between 2 clubs. The only news seems to be players re-signing / being released.

I wonder what happens at the end of June when players contracts end if they are currently furloughed? Does this mean they won't have income coming in? Not a great place to be I'm sure!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:05:30:18:03:56 by WPL.

Carnegiette2
Carnegiette2
01/06/2020 19:38
Story in the Times yesterday saying funding possibly being cut to the Welsh regions too due to the WRUís drastic loss of income.

Tough times all round if true

MESSAGES->author
Beeston Lion
01/06/2020 21:53
Re WPL's comments and query regarding contracts. In normal circumstance much of this work done prior to any rumours/notifications but as you indicate many players furloughed and to qualify for furlough you had to be employed in March. Therefore even if you managed to get a new contract you would not necessarily be getting paid until old season was completed whenever.

leeds_shark
WPL*
02/06/2020 10:20
thanks BL - so I guess no one is going to sign a new contract until there is an end of furlough in sight one way or another (hopefully with Rugby getting back underway!)

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
02/06/2020 12:58
Some progress, though presumably does not affect us:

[www.bbc.co.uk]

leeds_shark
WPL*
02/06/2020 13:31
It sounds like the start of fitness training.

I wonder how many championship clubs may call their players back? Given we don't know when the season may start, there seems little point in calling them back now and possibly stopping any furlough payments

MESSAGES->author
leemingtyke
02/06/2020 16:04
As Almo says, it doesn't affect us but I'd imagine it's difficult to start a training plan without knowing when next season will begin.

Carnegiette2
Carnegiette2
02/06/2020 16:50
Quote:
WPL
It sounds like the start of fitness training.
I wonder how many championship clubs may call their players back? Given we don't know when the season may start, there seems little point in calling them back now and possibly stopping any furlough payments

Exactly. If I were a cash strapped Championship club Iíd probably be quite happy to leave the government paying 80% of wages until the way forward was clearer.......

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
05/06/2020 08:58
Another step forward:
[www.bbc.co.uk]

Carnegiette2
Carnegiette2
05/06/2020 13:05
Sarries tied up in the Premiership until some time in October........ implications for the Championship there then.

No idea what it means for the rest of us

Lots of ifs and buts still- not counting any chickens yet about seeing rugby

leeds exile
leeds exile
05/06/2020 15:36
There seems to be increased talk of summer rugby going forward to align with the Southern Hemisphere. If that happens I will look elsewhere. My summer revolves around cricket, tennis and golf.

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
06/06/2020 10:21
The England Rugby roadmap for the return of rugby:


[www.englandrugby.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:06:06:10:25:06 by almostatyke.

Carnegiette2
Carnegiette2
08/06/2020 19:10
Super Rugby starting again in New Zealand this weekend- no restrictions on crowd size either.......... theyíre a long way ahead of us

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
08/06/2020 19:22
[www.bbc.co.uk]

More news

Carnegiette2
Carnegiette2
09/06/2020 09:04
Meanwhile the Prem clubs are looking at a Covid testing programme which will cost £20k per club per week (ouch!) to facilitate the August return......

I doubt thatís viable in the Premiership- it definitely wonít be at any lower levels thatís for sure

Carnegiette2
Carnegiette2
12/06/2020 12:43
Things between Premiership Rugby and the players union (RPA) seem to be getting ugly.

The RPA have said players will take legal action if the 25% cut in players wages imposed at the start of Covid is made permanent.

The clubs have now said they will no longer engage with the RPA.....

Ho hum.....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:06:12:14:20:26 by Carnegiette2.

leeds_shark
WPL*
12/06/2020 14:15
I can't see this ending well for anyone including the supporters!!!

leeds exile
leeds exile
28/06/2020 18:46
[www.youtube.com] This is well worth a watch.

Rawdon ranter
Rawdon ranter
28/06/2020 21:37
Yes, worth a view BUT could have been severely pruned in the edit without losing a very worthwhile viewpoint. Too long at 35 minutes.

daveyjp
daveyjp
02/07/2020 09:36
Quote:
Carnegiette2
Meanwhile the Prem clubs are looking at a Covid testing programme which will cost £20k per club per week (ouch!) to facilitate the August return......
I doubt thatís viable in the Premiership- it definitely wonít be at any lower levels thatís for sure

I wonder how much of that £20k is insurance premium?

Superleague rugby clubs are looking at about £5k per week. Maybe the two sports need to speak to each other!

Yorki
Yorki
02/07/2020 18:06
The game of professional rugby union has overstretched itself financially and unfortunately it has taken a pandemic to bring it to earth.
The present financial crisis does not bode well for the premiership and it is disaster for the rest of the leagues.
Tiger's are in pickle and I thought a club that is so well supported would have some money in its back pocket for a rainy day but it seems not. I am not too sure where this leaves Leeds but I suspect we will be on the road again for home matches as it is the cheapest option, watching young lads playing amateur rugby. At end of the day if you ever want to see how money has wrecked a sport just look at Rugby Union in the last twenty years.

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
02/07/2020 20:35
Professional players. Amateur minded administrators and managers in the rfu and many clubs.

MESSAGES->author
leemingtyke
02/07/2020 21:28
Just regarding Yorki's comment about Leicester being in a pickle despite their fantastic support,

I've often derided as nonsense the viewpoint of some that 'you can't be sustainable in the Premiership with attendances like most in the Championship'.

I've always maintained that attendances alone contribute very little towards sustainability given the astronomical cost of running a professional sports team consisting of maybe 40 players, backroom staff and the upkeep of a stadium; and therefore having a small following shouldn't be a bar to any club gaining promotion.

If Leicester are struggling as Yorki says (I don't know what their situation is) then it goes some way towards proving that theory.

Premiership clubs who believe they are sustainable are kidding themselves, it's all about the depth of the financial backers pockets and the extent to which they're willing to dip into them. Without them the club concerned would be.....well, they'd be us.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:07:02:21:33:34 by leemingtyke.

MESSAGES->author
almostatyke
03/07/2020 09:17
Agree with that Leeming but would add that as well as Financial Backers/Sugar Daddies the Premiership clubs have money from TV deals.

MESSAGES->author
leemingtyke
03/07/2020 09:53
Yeah absolutely Almo, the TV money is massive.

leeds_shark
WPL*
03/07/2020 09:58
That's probably why they are so desperate to get the season back on, even if it starts when next season probably should be starting

Yorki
Yorki
03/07/2020 16:48
Tiger's have made 30 back room staff redundant and 6 players have refused a reduced deferred salary. Manu' Tuilagi, Karl Eastmond and others have left the club. It appears there is potential legal battle regarding Tiger's honouring the players contracts.

I know it was rumoured Manu turned down £750k salary from French Club Racing last year and accepted £400k salary from Tiger's plus what England would pay him.

Yorki
Yorki
03/07/2020 16:58
Just checked and it appears Manu has being offered £2.5 million over three years at Racing. Big loss for England. You could run a championship squad and staff on that money!

leeds exile
leeds exile
05/07/2020 08:42
Otley's recent crowd funding appeal raised £15,000 together with grants they have £23,000. Hardly game changing is it? They are optimistically planning a friendly against Wharfedale in August.

Bobba
Bobba
06/07/2020 14:19
If I'm not mistaken the crowdfunding at Otley was for the purpose of maintenance of the existing ground and not towards the redevelopment of their new ground. As such, I think £23K is a job well done.

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