Just like Hull FC and KR 20 years ago, why do rugby league clubs still suffer financial problems?

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Just like Hull FC and KR 20 years ago, why do rugby league clubs still suffer financial problems?

Once again in Rugby League the financial struggles of the lower league clubs have come to the fore.

Whitehaven have had their well-publicised financial difficulties over the last month and they’ve been joined by Championship club Barrow and League One Keighley this week.

It begs the question what can the sport do to combat these difficulties?

It’s very sad to see any club struggling and remember it was Hull FC and Hull KR in the same boat just 20 years ago.

Financially everyone would like more in funding from the governing body.

It means those financing clubs wouldn’t need to dig so deep year after year to keep their club afloat.

But ultimately every club needs people at the very top involved for the reason many owners at Super League level are, almost all for the love of rugby league, to generously support their club by spending their hard-earned monies on the enjoyment of many thousands of fans.



Barrow Raiders during their Summer Bash clash against Sheffield Eagles.

Barrow Raiders during their Summer Bash clash against Sheffield Eagles.

And almost all see no financial return year after year.

It will always beg the question when a club heads into financial difficulties of mismanagement of finances. Ultimately it boils down to spending more than you have on players, staff and other costings against funding, merchandising and projected gates.

Money is always the common denominating factor in all the above.

Whether mismanaged money or needing more of it to manage.

The league structures certainly don’t help sell sponsorship at elite level, the uncertainty for four Super League clubs mean those sponsoring them also become sceptical about what relegation could mean.

Yet every other structure has seen clubs meet difficulties.

The biggest example recently is the demise of the all-conquering Bradford Bulls.

The game’s struggle has always been getting the best price for what we all believe is the best product.

Only when we do this can we begin to spread any more funding out across the whole sport.

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