25 Jul 2020

Statement from the board of directors at Rochdale Hornets

Statement from the board following this week's announcement, including that we will not be participating in the Autumn competition.

Following this week’s RFL announcement confirming the Betfred Championship and League 1 season will not return, we would like to update all supporters and sponsors on the club’s position. 

As a club we are naturally disappointed that we are unable to return to the Betfred League 1 in 2020, but we must place on record our thanks to the RFL for being decisive in making the decision. The news will come as a blow for many of our supporters, but we can assure you that the engagement and discussions over the past few months has been measured and considerate of all clubs’ views.

The current restrictions on returning to play coupled with the ongoing cost implications means it is extremely difficult to return safely without compromising the clubs financial footing. In truth, the RFL have given every opportunity for the game to return with government restrictions easing, but we are ultimately running out of time to complete a viable season. 

Having reviewed the invite to compete in the Autumn competition, the board have unanimously voted to not accept the invitation. 

Whilst the opportunity to compete later in the year is appealing, it does not support the club’s ambition to challenge for League 1 promotion. The financial implications associated with returning to play have not changed and the players welfare and readiness is not conducive to playing a friendly competition. We wish to reassure supporters that our ambition has not changed, your club must be ready for 2021 and we have positioned the club to deal with the 2020 challenges with your continued support.

It has been a particularly difficult time for Matt, his players and the staff who have all been resolute in maintaining their fitness and focus, in the hope we would return. As that is no longer an option our players, staff and colleagues will stand down for 2020, but will continue to remain on furlough until such time that the government scheme ends and we are ready to return to a pre-season. We must again pay tribute to all our staff who accepted pay reductions at the beginning of this pandemic, enabling us to protect the club’s immediate financial position. 

We are also very aware that supporters and their families will have suffered financially during the pandemic, your continued support has been humbling, and we thank you for your patience and understanding whilst the sport explored all its options. In the next few weeks the board and management team will consider options to reimburse our loyal supporters and box holders. In presenting these options, we would urge and encourage all fans to take up the alternative options, rather than opt for a refund, although we understand your personal circumstances may prevent you from doing so. 

We now move towards the club's 150th anniversary in 2021 and we must approach this period of our history with real optimism. With prudent and cautious financial planning, we will strive to grow and achieve our goals. We want to have a successful team that pushes the club back into the Championship. In order to achieve this, we are dependent on unity, hard work by all and TOGETHER we will deliver sustainability amid a changing landscape.

Whilst there have been no games, it hasn’t put a stop to our planning and the hard work in the background and therefore in the coming weeks we will continue to bring you recruitment updates and we are looking forward to sharing some significant developments and exciting news with you. It may be a while before we’re able to share a drink or two on game day, but you can rest assured your club is being proactive. Please continue to show your support in any way you can and please be ready to back our plans and initiatives as and when we announce them. 

Finally, on behalf of the board of directors and everyone at Rochdale Hornets we thank all our supporters, partners and sponsors. Please stay safe, we will be back playing in front of you all before you know it. 

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