Tough challenges ahead for Wakefield Trinity as Super League seeks resumption

Wakefield Trinity are faced with an “unprecedented” set of challenges but the most testing period for the club will be when there is a return to play, admits chief executive Michael Carter.

Thursday, 21st May 2020, 6:05 am
Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter.

With the majority of the staff at Belle Vue, including players and coaches, on furlough leave and with other Government interventions such as business rate relief in place, Wakefield are coping well with the coronavirus pandemic.

However, bigger challenges could be on the way as Super League explores ways it can safely return.

It is likely that any resumption will be behind closed doors, which will see a significant drop in income for clubs across the sport.

Belle Vue. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

The majority of rugby league clubs have been relying on the Government furlough scheme, which pays 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month and any return to action would mean that could no longer be utilised and Carter admits that will prove tough for Trinity.

“We are faced with an unprecedented set of challenges,” he told Trinity TV.

“In the short-term, the first three months, everything is pretty good at this minute in time.

“The Government interventions, the furlough scheme and the local Government interventions with the business rate relief, has provided some much-needed cash into the business.

“And also, the entire staff taking salary reductions, starting from last month.

“In terms of the very short-term, I think we are ok.”

He added: “The challenging period will be from July until the end of November when hopefully we do get back playing.

“Because when staff and players come back in to start training, then the furlough ends and that is a massive help at this moment in time. That is the challenge.”

It was revealed earlier this week that EFL Championship clubs will be required to foot the costs for coronavirus testing, meaning something similar could be expected of Super League sides.

Carter added: “If we do start playing, what is the costing of testing and things like that. I don’t know the answer to that, so that is a bit of unknown.

“And also, playing behind closed doors brings its own challenges in terms of season ticket money and sponsorship.”

Carter believes that Wakefield will continue to face financial challenges into 2021, as sponsors and fans might not be in a position to support the club in the manner they have done this campaign.

“The likelihood is that next year is going to be really challenging as well,” he added.

“Sponsors and fans are hurting just as much as the club are, so we are going to be faced with revenue challenges for next year as well.”