Gary Hetherington hopes rugby league can enjoy post-coronavirus boom

Drew Darbyshire

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington hopes rugby league can flourish after the coronavirus pandemic, just as the sport did at the end of the Second World War.

The Rhinos have furloughed almost all their playing and office staff due to the current coronavirus crisis.

Hetherington, who claims the Rhinos will lose £1.5million in income, hopes the sport will eventually be come back stronger.

He said: “We are coping as best we can, all our players and the vast majority of our staff are cocooned at home.

“As a business, this is our major challenge, the next three months. We have significant liabilities.

“We have made a pledge to keep all our players and staff in employment, but our income streams have already started to dry up and we are living off the income we have already received.”

The rugby league season has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus and Hetherington believes the season could possibly run into 2021.

But the Leeds chief remains confident the sport can enjoy a boom post-coronavirus.

He added: “We can come out of this a stronger game.

“A lot can be learned from history and as we look back to the war years in the late 1940s when society was completely disrupted, rugby league survived the war years and post-war the game enjoyed its boom period.

“We have to display those war-like characteristics and hopefully come out of this intact and look forward to boom time.”

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