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Adam Pearson questions Sky Sports’ salary cap data on Hull FC

Adam Pearson Sky

Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson has suggested that he could take Sky Sports to court in response to the broadcaster’s recent segment in which they estimated the salary spent by all of the 12 teams in Super League.

Ahead of the clash between Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, Sky Sports host Brian Carney revealed that those working behind the scenes had put together an “estimate” on each side’s salary spend for the 2024 season.

Carney even stated: “It’s more than a guess, it’s a lot of research come into this believe it or not.”

Despite that, FC chairman Adam Pearson clearly wasn’t happy with the estimation and has since rubbished Sky’s claim that Hull FC were spending just £1.8 million a year.

Speaking on BBC Humberside, he explained: “If somebody who wants to invest at a reasonable level, we’re not talking big money at Hull FC, then we could push and push and push on the player roster to get back to top five. We are, despite what everybody says, spending £2.35 million a year.

“Whether that is being well spent is a better question than asking why we’re lower than that. Sky (Sports) guessing that we’re at £1.8 million cap spend, if I were to take them to a court of law, it would take about 30 minutes for them to be found guilty.”

Pearson claims Hull FC haven’t spent well enough

Adam Pearson’s tell-all interview came following the sacking of Tony Smith with plenty of Hull FC fans wanting answers about how the season could have possibly started so badly and what the next plans were.

Much of the discussion centred around the club’s finances though and when pushed further on the claim that his side are spending £2.35 million, Pearson clarified and accepted that the issue has been how the money has been spent as opposed to how much.

He said: “We’ve spent the money, but this year, have we spent it wisely, would be a better question.

“I must not be very concise tonight, to clarify we are at salary cap. We paid £2.35 million pounds wages this year. I’m not sure why there’s so much emphasis on that question when the real question should be is why haven’t we spent it very well?”

If anyone was still in doubt over the matter, Pearson even laid down the gauntlet for fans to even check the books in the second instance that he sent a strong message to the FC faithful

“If anybody wants to question that any further I think the best thing I do is they can come down to the office and I can show them the pay cap,” Pearson argued.

“Rugby League is an unsustainable sport” – Adam Pearson’s worrying admission

Adam Pearson

Credit: SWPix

Another topic discussed by Adam Pearson live on Radio Humberside saw the bold claim from the Hull FC chairman that “Rugby League is an unsustainable sport”.

That viewpoint was supported by financial statistics of how each Super League club performed in the most recent assessments, with more information uncovered about how much Sky Sports pay teams for broadcasting rights.

He explained: “Super League last year lost £14 million between the 12 clubs and so every club is averaging £1 million loss. We’ve lost circa £5 million in the last three years, we’re just about to post another £1 million loss for 2023.

“Rugby league is an unsustainable sport. The reason for that is Sky have dropped funding 35% during COVID. They now pay us a million pounds less than they did in 2016.”

Adam Pearson takes shot at Hull KR

Hull FC's dejection

Credit: Imago Images

Pearson then countered his claim of the sport as a whole being unsustainable by arguing that Hull FC were among the few sustainable Super League clubs as he took aim at teams such as Wigan and Hull KR.

“The rest of the revenue streams are pretty much in place. Obviously, our gates have dropped because of form, but rugby league is now no longer a sport that can be self-sustainable. Hull FC can be.

“In fact, we will move towards that at the end of this year, having repaid a huge amount of government loan for Covid. So we played behind closed doors, we had to take players off furlough, incur a large debt and now have to repay that debt. So that’s what we’re doing.

“Those clubs who have a rich benefactor such as James McNicol at Hull KR and the new chairman and owner at Wigan are able to put £1.5-£2 million pounds a year in. That is not sustainable as people tell you because at the end of the day no matter how wealthy you are, people do not want to sign multiple cheques for £250,000 a month.”

In a final appeal for possible investors, Adam Pearson stated: “We have a unique model at Hull FC. You can get a return on your investment, you can compete, but the more money we put in the bigger the gates will be, there’s a clear correlation going all the way back to 2013.”

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