Championship side Swinton Lions have offered their fans an in depth update on the status of the club heading into 2024 in which they’ve revealed the immense costs of running a club.
Swinton had an impressive first season in the Championship after securing promotion from League One in 2022 via the play-offs, the club avoiding the dreaded drop as they finished tenth in the table.
It was a huge achievement given the spending power of some of the teams that they were competing with and now the club are looking to kick on in 2024 after making some impressive signings including former Super League players Rhys Williams and Declan Patton among others.
The club have also brought in a new head coach in Alan Kilshaw and look set for an exciting season on the field, however the revealing part of the update from the club CEO details the insane costs that the club incur daily.
Following Covid and the reductions in central funding we’ve seen multiple sides fold such as London Skolars and West Wales Raiders, whilst Newcastle Thunder have had to crowdfund in order to compete in this coming season.
In the released statement from the club, CEO Stephen Wild explained: “The challenges of running a semi-professional Rugby League club at Championship level in this day and age are immense. I’ve already touched on the dramatic reduction in central funding, which leaves us £150,000 short of what we received in 2021.
“In the meantime, we have not only won promotion from League 1, but followed this up with a tenth place finish in the Championship in 2023. In the same period costs have risen sharply, particularly player costs, and it is a constant daily challenge for the Board to meet this significant financial challenge.
“It will probably surprise you to learn that on average, over the course of a full year, it costs in excess of £10,000 PER WEEK to meet our obligations and maintain our current status. We aren’t just a Rugby League club, we are decent sized business in every respect, playing in a highly regulated sport, with all the challenges of a regular business aside from our Rugby League playing activities.
“With such eye-watering numbers to contend with you’ll fully understand why we value our Supporters Trust, the Pridebuilder scheme, our season ticket holders and our regular supporters. But if only we could double our gates we would be in an entirely different place!”
He also went on to touch on IMG and how the club fared under the grading system, something he’s promised to deal with “in more detail at a future date”.
Wild stated: “This brings me briefly to the fresh challenges brought about by the IMG grading system, which recently saw us narrowly miss out on being graded as a “B” club rather than a “C”.
“We recognise that the grading system is designed to improve standards and in that respect we are happy to meet the challenges ahead. Certainly, one area which represents a relatively easy hit is to improve our social media presence, which brings me back to the comments I made earlier. But I’ll deal with IMG and the grading system in more detail at a future date.”
Wild also touched on a number of other matters relating to the club’s recruitment, new shirt manufacturers and how fans can continue to get involved for the upcoming season. The statement in full can be found here.
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