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The RFL is 68-million in debt

This article is all inuendo and gives no facts at all.
But it is very alarming if it is true. Can anyone bring any light to whether these comments are true or not and which clubs would/could be the worst offenders.

THE days of big-money British raids on the NRL's stars are all but over as Super League clubs drown in debt.

An investigation by the BBC's Inside Out program found Super League's clubs are haemorrhaging a collective $104 million in debt, with only three or four of the 14 clubs running at a profit.

Leading UK league authorities say this year's World Cup, to be staged in England and Wales, will be crucial to reviving the code in the northern hemisphere.

The Super League has been an attractive proposition to the NRL's elite for decades, with Mal Meninga, Andrew Johns, Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Trent Barrett, Tonie Carroll and Jamie Lyon among a posse of former Origin and Test stars to have played offshore.

But the increasing value of the Australian dollar, coupled with UK clubs' battle for survival, has negated the threat of the NRL's biggest stars being lost to Super League.

Former Canterbury fullback Luke Patten and ex-Kiwi Test utility Vinnie Anderson are owed an estimated $60,000 each by cash-strapped Salford.

Rob Wilson, a sports-finance specialist with a British university, probed the balance sheets of 11 of the 14 Super League outfits and was alarmed by the state of several clubs.

"Our findings indicate that there is a cumulative net debt of 68.5million ($A104.2m) among the Super League clubs, with three or four clubs performing well," Wilson told the BBC.

"The overall effect of that is that the league itself will struggle for finance.

"Using a term like "rugby league is staring at the financial abyss' is not too harsh a thing to say.

"The remaining clubs appear to make annual losses which contribute to the net debt position, some just about wash their faces financially while others appear to have lost control of their spending.

"Two of the clubs examined had significant levels of net debt and, if these are removed from the sample, we can conclude an average net debt of around 3m ($4.6m) per club.

"Of course, there are clubs in the league structure who make a profit and it is their business model that others should seek to utilise."

The English RFL signed a deal with Sky television in 2011 that guarantees the sport an estimated 90m ($137m) over five years.

Several clubs remain at death's door and the Super League season starts tonight without a sponsor in place.

Leading Australian player agent Sam Ayoub, who manages Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston, says a career cameo in the UK is losing its appeal with NRL stars.

"With the pound as weak as it is, it's not as attractive as it used to be for Aussies to play in the Super League," he said. "That's why there are more British players coming to Australia."

Former Great Britain star Jonathan Davies, who had NRL stints with the Bulldogs and Cowboys, says this year's World Cup could help rescue the ailing UK game.

"Super League is a great product, unfortunately beset by financial problems," he said.

"It remains a great sport to watch but the challenge for league worldwide is obvious. They have to get the international game right and achieve what international rugby union has done.

"Get the media attention on to the international game. I do feel sometimes they have neglected that, which is going to be a huge problem."

posted on 1/2/13

As regards the debt it is double that of one, yes one union club in England. Its below that of what a average premier league club would have. If you took an average the average union club and soccer club would have far more debt than an average Rugby League.
On the down side its not good, but British sport as a whole appears to run on debt. Not the best business plan in the world in my opinion.

posted on 2/2/13

Steve Mascord's view:


Sorry, not sure how you make it clickable

posted on 2/2/13

See if we can get a link here

posted on 2/2/13

We think that Rugby League has debts. Look at this.

posted on 3/2/13

It will implode at some point. Not just SL but also the English Premiership. Too much debt to service, and too much reliance on TV & rich businessmen looking for a hobby.

The RFL really need to wake up and realise the parlous state at least 50% of the SL clubs are in financially. Both Bradford Bulls & Salford Reds are on the brink of going bust, and I guess there are others like Castleford & London, that can't be far behind.

Sky money certainly helps, but it does worry me that SL failed to find a sponsor for this season's campaign! What does that say about the game in terms of commercial opportunities?

Perhaps its a good thing that some clubs are looking to their own academies for the next generation of SL players rather than paying a fortune for imports. And yet the void between the rich & successful (Leeds, Warrington, Wigan etc) and nearly everyone else in SL will become even more deeper because those clubs will be able to do both - buy from down under, AND develop their own academy players. Giving them a huge advantage in the short, medium and long terms.

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