Finance warning to Super League

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Bulls were saved from the brink of liquidation by Omar Khan’s purchase of the club The Bulls were saved from the brink of liquidation by Omar Khan’s purchase of the club

Super League has been warned it faces a fresh cash crisis in a programme due to be screened tonight.

Inside Out, scheduled on BBC One at 7.30, claims that Super League is on the edge of a financial abyss, with combined debts of at least £60million.

An investigation by sports finance specialist Rob Wilson from Sheffield Hallam University for Inside Out looks at the balance sheets of 11 of the 14 Super League teams (information was not available from three clubs).

The Bulls entered administration last year and were only saved from the brink of liquidation by Omar Khan’s purchase of the club at the 11th hour.

Wakefield and Crusaders have also experienced serious financial difficulties in recent season and Salford are on the verge of being taken over after a similar financial meltdown.

Wilson said: “You have three or four teams that are doing very well, three or four teams doing poorly and a group of teams that struggle to wash their face financially. The overall effect of that is that League itself will struggle for finance.

“The biggest challenge for Super League is that there are too many teams generating insufficient turnover and generating too much cumulative debt.

“That alarms me as someone who looks at finance in an academic environment, so using a term like ‘rugby league is staring at the financial abyss’ isn’t too harsh a thing to say.”

Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell admitted: “I think probably on the whole it’s a little bit worse than it was last year.

“Every year we make a loss and every year as directors we’ve funded that shortfall. I think it’d be very hard for us to argue otherwise than we live beyond our means.”

But Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington insists his own club is in comparatively good financial health. Hetherington said: “The product on the field has never been better, the crowds are very strong, the TV audiences are very strong and the game itself is as good as it’s ever been.

“We don’t want that overshadowed by incompetence at club level and that’s what we’ve seen in recent years.

“So we need to rid ourselves of poor management practices. All clubs have a real responsibility; a real role to play. The majority of clubs are working hard – it’s some of the others that have let the sport down, quite frankly.”

A Rugby Football League spokesman added: “The sport has worked and is continuing to work hard to tackle this issue.

“Indeed, a good number of Super League clubs are run successfully and profitably without having to rely on the largesse of wealthy owners and the quality of management at club level is improving all the time.

“The £60million combined debt of 11 Super League teams should be contextualised. The figure pales into insignificance compared to the debts accrued by Premiership and Championship football clubs and many Premiership rugby union clubs.”

Comments (6)

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6:37am Mon 28 Jan 13

Blotto says...

I notice they ignore Skys contribution to this Fiscal mess due to them vastly overpaying for Football ie the EPL at the expense of our other Major Sports inc Rugby League.
I notice they ignore Skys contribution to this Fiscal mess due to them vastly overpaying for Football ie the EPL at the expense of our other Major Sports inc Rugby League. Blotto
  • Score: 0

7:48am Mon 28 Jan 13

wembley bound says...

The leeds chief got it spot on its down to poor management.
Now who was it on here who said leeds only surviving due to wealthy backer ah yes my friend who goes on fictitious holidays.
I suggest everyone watches this programme just because clubs get taken over it does not mean they are safe.
The leeds chief got it spot on its down to poor management. Now who was it on here who said leeds only surviving due to wealthy backer ah yes my friend who goes on fictitious holidays. I suggest everyone watches this programme just because clubs get taken over it does not mean they are safe. wembley bound
  • Score: 0

9:41am Mon 28 Jan 13

mines a pint says...

When you read this and the article about Bulls wanting to switch the Sts match to avoid a clash with City being at Wembley I suggest financial incompetence is not limited to club management

The RFL seem happy to let Bulls;
A team just out of administration, managing on a shoe string budget, with reduced Sky money potentially loose £100k to protect the integrety of a game which few Sts fans & even fewer Bulls fans will attend who have the least financial support via Sky money.

Lets face it the RFL does not have a brilliant track record in sound financial management Allowing Stobart full sponsorship of super league for a few decals on their wagons that was priceless!

How do they believe their decision not to allow the match on a Friday will assist the Bulls in building financial stability

OK must be wondering why on earth he put his money on the line to save a club the RFL seems hell bent on making struggle to survive another season

Makes you wonder whether all the hype we heard from Red Hall last year about super league needing Bradford was more about them avoiding a mini licensing round rather than save the Bulls

The RFL really are a joke!
When you read this and the article about Bulls wanting to switch the Sts match to avoid a clash with City being at Wembley I suggest financial incompetence is not limited to club management The RFL seem happy to let Bulls; A team just out of administration, managing on a shoe string budget, with reduced Sky money potentially loose £100k to protect the integrety of a game which few Sts fans & even fewer Bulls fans will attend who have the least financial support via Sky money. Lets face it the RFL does not have a brilliant track record in sound financial management Allowing Stobart full sponsorship of super league for a few decals on their wagons that was priceless! How do they believe their decision not to allow the match on a Friday will assist the Bulls in building financial stability OK must be wondering why on earth he put his money on the line to save a club the RFL seems hell bent on making struggle to survive another season Makes you wonder whether all the hype we heard from Red Hall last year about super league needing Bradford was more about them avoiding a mini licensing round rather than save the Bulls The RFL really are a joke! mines a pint
  • Score: 0

11:30am Mon 28 Jan 13

theviking62 says...

Two points, Blotto, if you go to BBC rugby league, you will see they mention the Sky monies, £90 million. Worth a read. Egg Bound, FAKE, firstly get back to City site. Secondly I have never mentioned anything re a wealthy backer at Leeds. I also enjoyed my break, weather could have been better. The free WI FI and my ipad were a godsend. Allowing me to keep up with the goings on in Bradford. So my idiotic friend get your facts right prior to engaging what passes for a brain.
Two points, Blotto, if you go to BBC rugby league, you will see they mention the Sky monies, £90 million. Worth a read. Egg Bound, FAKE, firstly get back to City site. Secondly I have never mentioned anything re a wealthy backer at Leeds. I also enjoyed my break, weather could have been better. The free WI FI and my ipad were a godsend. Allowing me to keep up with the goings on in Bradford. So my idiotic friend get your facts right prior to engaging what passes for a brain. theviking62
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Reality50 says...

RFL are a joke and preside over a stale product namely Super League.Promotion and relegation need to be brought back and the salary cap scrapped. The game has gone backwards the past decade with stupid kick off times and lets be honest a season of meaningless friendlies till the play offs kick in. You don't win a prize for finishing top of the pile and you can't get relegated. Is it any wonder the game is in crisis?
RFL are a joke and preside over a stale product namely Super League.Promotion and relegation need to be brought back and the salary cap scrapped. The game has gone backwards the past decade with stupid kick off times and lets be honest a season of meaningless friendlies till the play offs kick in. You don't win a prize for finishing top of the pile and you can't get relegated. Is it any wonder the game is in crisis? Reality50
  • Score: 0

11:11pm Mon 28 Jan 13

wembley bound says...

Looks like viking should be in charge of the super league I mean everything he says is true.
Looks like viking should be in charge of the super league I mean everything he says is true. wembley bound
  • Score: 0

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