Is it worth the sacrifice? Championship clubs left in limbo over central funding

Batley coach Craig Lingard says the ongoing uncertainty over central funding could see people walk away from the game.

The reduced broadcast deal from 2021 was already due to impact all clubs, but the finer details are still a way from being ironed out owing to Super League’s attempted “re-alignment” with the RFL.

A working group, that includes Batley chairman Kevin Nicholas, held an initial meeting with Super League chiefs last week.

Lingard wrote on Twitter: “I feel we are at a crossroads. We are currently half way through a season we still don’t know what prize money we are playing for.

“We don’t know what distribution we are getting next season and there isn’t a meeting until August to try and find out what we are playing for.

“They TV money is a lot less than it has previously been so everyone is expecting a cut but how much?

“How can teams re-sign players or recruit players not knowing what they have to spend?”

“Not only will players have to decide if it’s worth the sacrifice but coaches, physios and all other backroom staff will have to decide whether the time and sacrifice is worth the little money they get to continue in the sport.

“If your job offered you a 50% pay cut to do the same job would you continue to do it?

“Some clubs might not have players, coaches, physios and doctors come next pre-season and after the sacrifices that people have made this year to not only get the season up and running but hopefully get it to a conclusion, I believe that the sport has totally disrespected everyone involved and to be halfway through the season and still not know what we are playing for is a disgrace.

“From a club’s point of view financially, why should they provide an incentive to win games if they aren’t rewarded financially for a higher finish in the table?

“If you are safe from relegation what is the point in winning games unless you are financially rewarded to do so.

“Rugby league needs to decide quickly what direction it wants to go so everyone can decide whether it’s worth the sacrifice.”

The new broadcast deal with Sky Sports is reported to be around £14m-a-year less than the previous deal.

However, officials are hoping that a free-to-air package of 10 live Super League games could help boost sponsorship revenues.

There are increasing concerns over the size of the player pool, with many clubs now relying on short-term loans to simply fulfil fixtures.

And in the women’s Super League, games have been postponed this season due to a lack of medical assistance.

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