A Hunslet supporters group has blasted Leeds City Council and launched a petition after their decision to charge the Hawks an additional £5,000 for use of the South Leeds Stadium.
The newly-promoted Hawks were handed a boost in pre-season when SKY announced it would televise their home game against Dewsbury on Thursday 31st March.
However, the news soon became bitter-sweet for the club when Leeds City Council increased the stadium rental for the evening by £5,000, the same amount the club would receive from SKY for allowing the game to be televised.
The Hunslet Independent Supporters Trust have now launched a petition to get the council to reverse its decision.
Chairman of the Working Group, Neil Hampshire, said: “The actions of the Council in this matter are despicable. They have a history of not supporting Hunslet from a continued failure to deliver the completed stadium that was promised when the club moved out of Elland Road in 1995, eventually costing us promotion to Super League in 1999, through the recent removal of 500 seats from the top tier of the stand without any explanation or consultation and now this. I suspect they did not adopt this approach with Leeds United when they owned Elland Road.”
The council have claimed that the increase covers the loss of earnings due to the game being held on the Thursday evening, citing a lack of parking meaning they would have to shut the 5-a-side football facilities and swimming pool.
Darren Williams, Hunslet Hawks‘ Director of rugby, said: “Hunslet Hawks welcomes the support of the Hunslet Independent Supporters Trust in their dispute with Leeds City Council over the council’s demand for an additional payment, above the annual rent, for Hunslet’s game against Dewsbury Rams which has been scheduled by the Rugby Football League to take place on Thursday 31st March.
“Hunslet Hawks are in on-going discussions with the council and so are unable to make any further comment at this time.”
Anyone wanting to help can visit the HIST trust website at www.hunslettrust.co.uk where there is a letter of complaint that people can download to send to the council leader or local council representative.
An online petition has also been launched at http://petitions.tigweb.org/HunsletTrust