Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell to step down as he addresses pay issues

Aaron Bower
Featherstone Rovers Post Office Road SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell has revealed he will step down as soon as the club’s issues regarding cashflow have been resolved, after he addressed a number of issues regarding outstanding pay for the club’s former players.

A number of stories have emerged surrounding Featherstone in the last week, headlined over the weekend by Craig Hall’s public admission that he was yet to receive any money for his testimonial game, which took place over a year ago.

But Campbell has now addressed that and other matters in a lengthy statement, in which he confirms he will no longer act in the role of chairman or on the club’s board of directors once he has helped resolve the cashflow situation at Featherstone.

He said: “As the club’s chairman, I take full responsibility for everything that happens at this club and do feel I have taken my eye off the ball due in part to other issues and my own business commitments.

“In view of this, I will work with Martin and Steve to address the cash flow issue. However, once this task has been accomplished, I will be stepping down as Chairman and from the Board of Directors.

“I think all of our supporters need to know that for the last two years, we spent like a Super League club to ensure we got promoted. We did this on £80k broadcast distribution per annum, not the £1.4million of our Super League counterparts and we did this to achieve Super League promotion before the IMG door was firmly shut this season.”

Campbell confirmed Featherstone do owe money to several former players, but insist he is working to resolve that matter, saying: “To put things into perspective, we owed to players at the end of the 2023 season circa £30k. As I speak, we have delivered all of these payments of salaries with the exception of one overseas player and the reimbursement of flight expenses of another player. We continue to work positively with GMB to resolve those matters.”

In addressing Hall’s comments over the weekend, Campbell insisted Hall has now received some of his money – with the full amount set to be paid imminently.

He said: “In terms of Craig Hall, his testimonial year ended in December 2023 and he was entitled to a part-payment of the Hull KR game proceeds.

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“As a club, we supported Craig throughout the year with free marketing, room hire, opening up the club’s shirt sponsors to him, club’s directors sat on his testimonial committee and plenty more, so we were naturally disappointed that it has come to this. Craig has received a part payment of the balance and we expect to fully resolve this matter within the next two weeks.”

Campbell confirmed Featherstone have reduced their playing budget by 55 per cent this season, in part due to the drop-off in central distribution but also due to IMG’s grading criteria ensuring the door to Super League is ‘firmly shut for good’ on Featherstone.

He said: “For the last two years, this club has left no stone unturned in seeking promotion to Super League. We all know that, from this season, the door is firmly shut for good on Super League for clubs like ours because of the IMG criteria so we had to speculate if we were to achieve this long-standing objective.

“We did speculate at a time when our broadcast distribution had declined by at least 75%, at a time when the costs of running this Stadium went through the roof, at a time when our supporter base unfortunately stayed the same throughout this period at just 700 paying season ticket holders.

“We did build a team of the highest paid players in the Championship, that won the league by a huge margin but once again failed on the big occasion, a team that were paid on time every time during those two seasons.

“We did speculate on the back of significant investment from myself and Steven Clough (this is now in excess of £1.7M), unprecedented commercial investment in the Club brought in by Martin Vickers (£600k within the last 2 years) but unfortunately that investment was unsuccessful.

“It is worth noting that the Club spent on salaries in the last 2 years circa £2.2m, there is currently £8.5k owed in respect of unpaid salaries from the 23 season.

“We have therefore, as I have said previously, cut our cloth accordingly this year, with a reduction in our playing budget of 55% with the sole objective of delivering a Featherstone team that will fight for the badge rather than themselves, and I really do hope that the last two games have shown some positive signs of this.

“We appreciate the support of our fans but in the current budget plans, our season ticket income based upon 700 paying season ticket holders, probably still accounts for less than 30% of our reduced playing budget so I do expect that we will need to cut further in future seasons if this position remains.

“We always knew the transition to the reduced budget would be difficult, we were very open about this. We have had the longest off-season ever in recent history from February to March with no home games so there was bound to have been issues along the way.”

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