The survival of our Super League clubs at end of season is game’s priority says Wakefield Trinity’s Michael Carter

SURVIVAL is becoming the name of the game for clubs across rugby league as the coronavirus shutdown drags on.
HARD TIMES: Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael CarterHARD TIMES: Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter
HARD TIMES: Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter

The sport is approaching its third weekend with no fixtures and the financial pinch is being felt at all levels.

Wakefield Trinity and Hull have become the first Super League clubs to place players and staff on furlough as part of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, which guarantees employees will receive 80 per cent of their wages up to a monthly total of £2,500.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Similar steps are being taken by Championship sides including Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams and Widnes Vikings and most - if not all - of the 37 clubs across three divisions are expected to follow.

TALKS: Trinity veteran Danny KirmondTALKS: Trinity veteran Danny Kirmond
TALKS: Trinity veteran Danny Kirmond

Trinity’s chief executive Michael Carter now believes it will be “job done” for Super League if its 12 teams are still in business when their financial year effectively ends in November. Rugby league has never been a cash-rich sport and with little or no income being generated at what should be the height of the season, the outlook for even some of the leading sides appears bleak.

Carter took part in a conference call with other Super League clubs yesterday and admitted: “For me, it is about getting not only players, but the whole club and the whole sport, through this very challenging period.”

He insisted: “If we can get everybody through to the end of November and we are all still here, that is a massive job done as far as I am concerned.

“That is what I am working towards at this moment in time.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Carter admitted to spending much of yesterday “looking at spread sheets, trying to map cash flows and stuff like that”.

He confirmed: “At our club, other than three personnel who are keeping certain things ticking over, everyone else is on furlough at this moment in time.”

But he also stressed: “They have all been paid in full for March. That happened (yesterday).

Trinity club captain Danny Kirmond told The Yorkshire Post earlier this week he supports the club’s decision, describing the furlough scheme as “a way for the club to keep itself in business at the minute and a way for us to definitely get paid”.

Carter added: “I haven’t spoken to too many of the players.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They did get the furlough letter which stated they will be paid in full for March and then we will have to reconsider things at some point in April.

“I have spoken to a couple of the senior guys, Danny Kirmond and Ryan Atkins and a couple of the others.

“They realise what sort of boat we are in at the minute.”

No firm decisions were made during yesterday’s ‘meeting’, but Carter is hopeful the Rugby Football League (RFL) will make progress in talks with the government over seeking financial help and other support.

The initial shutdown, announced two weeks ago, has been extended indefinitely and while clubs are optimistic the season will resume, it is likely to be with a reduced number of fixtures, or to carry on into the winter, which would threaten the lucrative Ashes Test series scheduled for October and November.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are still in abeyance with a lot of things,” said Carter. “With a lot of the government interventions we are still not seeing all of the detail.

“Clearly there are ongoing discussions with Sky and other partners as well, so until we get a fuller picture we can’t make any announcements or statements.

“We need to see how things are going to go with a variety of matters.

“There is ongoing dialogue between the RFL and government, which I think has been fantastically well led by Ralph (Rimmer, RFL chief executive) and hopefully it provides an outcome that allows us all to get through.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson