Leeds predict £4m loss from lockdown impact

Drew Darbyshire

Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield predicts the club will make a £4million loss over the next 18 months because of the impact of the lockdown.

This week marked 100 days since the Rhinos’ last scheduled game against Catalans was postponed.

A return date for Super League has yet to be announced, but a return to action behind closed doors is expected in August.

Sinfield said: “Clearly the lockdown is a huge hit to the club’s financial plans.

“As you would expect, there have been long and detailed conversations between myself, Gary Hetherington (chief executive) and our financial director Nigel Chambers as we discuss various options to altering our budgets and salary cap plans for the ‘new normal’ world that lies ahead for us.

“Our operations director Sue Ward and head of medical services Dr Marwan Al-Dawoud have been working tirelessly to prepare the stadium and our training ground to protect all our staff and make sure we are ready to go once we get the all clear to return.

“As part of that process, I know they have spent countless hours making sure our stadium is ready for our fans to return safely once we receive the go ahead from the authorities as well.

“We are predicted to make a £4million loss over the next 18 months because of the impact of the lockdown and obviously there are additional costs to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.

“Our players have been exemplary over this period and, along with all our staff, they have played their part by agreeing wage reductions to lessen the impact whilst we have been without income.”

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington commented: “The challenges we face financially are not just for the remainder of this season but will continue in 2021.

“Hopefully, we will have a full season with capacity crowds but every club will have to deal with reduced fees from our broadcast partners because of the disrupted 2020 season and inevitably some supporters will want reimbursing for games missed this season.

“On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, I would like to thank all our members, sponsors and partners for their ongoing support of the club.

“The work by the RFL to secure government support for the sport will help but this is a loan. However, our current forecast predicts we will lose £4million over the next two seasons but that we are actively engaging with various partners to mitigate those losses.

“There remains a large gap that we have to secure through a team effort by all connected to the club to enable us to not just survive but thrive as we look to kickstart a new period of success.”

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