Gary Hetherington has hailed a “significant step” in Yorkshire Carnegie’s attempt to return to the Premiership after a new board of investors was unveiled.
Seven local businessmen have pledged more than £2m between them over the next three years to help get the team formerly known as Leeds back into rugby union’s top flight.
“It’s the good news we’ve been working towards,” said Hetherington, who along with Sir Ian McGeechan announced in July that the club would be rebranding as Yorkshire and pursuing this investment. “The money – through equity, investment, sponsorship or donation – is in excess of £2m and underpins the funding of the business for the next three years.
“Over a three-year period the intention is to be back in the Premiership, and this is year one.
“This is the second significant step towards that goal. The first was bringing the county together with the process of rebranding.”
The new board, known as Yorkshire Tykes Limited, consists of three executive directors in McGeechan, chief executive Hetherington and commercial director Rob Oates. They are joined by three non-executive directors, Prince’s Trust International chief executive Alastair Da Costa from North Yorkshire, former player and club sponsor Jon Wright of Leeds and IBM board member David Dockray.
As well as Wright and Dockray, five further investors are: Mike Shotten, a multi-national company chairman from Harrogate; sport benefactor Dr Keith Howard; former marketing director Tony Snowden; former player and a company director Howard Illingworth and corporate finance adviser John Swarbrick of Harrogate.
The new board has secured a long-term agreement for the use of Headingley stadium and the training base at Kirkstall.
McGeechan added: “I would like to pay credit to Paul Caddick, who has supported and nurtured professional rugby union in the county for nearly 20 years and has stepped aside to help secure a sustainable and successful future for the game in Yorkshire.”