Yorkshire Carnegie information following meeting with the Supporters' Board
Yorkshire Carnegie Board Members David Dockray and Gary Hetherington met with the club’s Supporters’ Board before our Greene King IPA Championship clash with Doncaster Knights at Emerald Headingley on Sunday.
As part of the discussions, it was agreed to make clear statements about the current status of the club so that all fans were aware of the position we now find ourselves in. This is an extremely traumatic time for our players and staff. As all supporters will recognise, there are some matters which remain confidential due to contractual arrangements and we will not discuss individual player or coaching staff decisions at this time.
- It is the intention of the Board of Directors and the Shareholders that the club will continue in the Greene King IPA Championship for the 2019-20 season but as a part time team and coaching staff in line with a number of clubs already in the division. Currently, a number of teams in the Championship are either part time or have an element of part time players within their squad. Also, like other clubs in the Championship, we will also look to strengthen our very good existing links with Gallagher Premiership clubs to bring in players on either dual registration or loan agreements.
- Through agreement with Leeds CF&A, the company that owns and operates Emerald Headingley Rugby Stadium, the club will remain as Yorkshire Carnegie next season playing at Emerald Headingley Stadium and training at the Leeds Rugby Academy at Kirkstall.
- The cost of using both the stadium and training ground as well as the support given by the staff and equipment of Leeds CF&A is included in a service fee which was significantly reduced to £150,000 per season two years ago by agreement with Leeds CF&A to assist Yorkshire Carnegie and will be reduced further to £100,000 next season.
- The club’s full time members of staff are almost entirely within the rugby department including the Academy and Community departments. Almost every other member of staff is included in the annual service fee to Leeds CF&A, the owners of Emerald Headingley.
- One of the roles of the Board of Directors (after discussion with Shareholders) each season is to set and approve the overall budget, and within that, the Rugby budget. That budget is then deployed at the discretion of the rugby department. Up until a year ago, this was overseen by Sir Ian McGeechan. On 23rd March 2018, Chris Stirling was appointed as Director of Rugby and Chris was given control of the rugby department including a reduced rugby budget for the 2018-19 season.
- The initial Rugby budget for the current season was £1.27 million, a level that is mid-range for the Greene King IPA Championship. Nine new signings were made for the new season as well as 16 new contracts for players retained from the previous season. There were seven Academy players in contract who were part of the Championship squad for 2018-19.
- Unfortunately, a combination of factors resulted in a poor start to the season and Yorkshire Carnegie being bottom of the Greene King IPA Championship with one win in the opening nine games.
- The Board of Directors then decided, in a number of steps, to ultimately increase the original budget by an extra £780,000. The final approval, was based on the belief that funding would be available for 2019/20 as well as 2018/19 and enabled Chris Stirling to recruit a further nine players, mainly from New Zealand. In addition, we were able to bring in five players from Gallagher Premiership teams on dual registration or loan. The total Rugby department spending for the 2018-19 season is currently running in the region of £2.3million, although we are seeking to reduce that run rate. On the field, the arrival of the new recruits has seen an upturn in performances and results with Yorkshire Carnegie now sixth in the Greene King IPA Championship and the possibility of finishing as high up as fifth with two games remaining in the season.
- It is the intention of the Board of Directors that all liabilities for this season will be met in full, and progress is being made in securing the funding needed to do so. For clarity, all players have been paid in full to date and all insurance and medical commitments will be fulfilled until the end of the season.
- In late 2018, the Board were made aware that an increase in funding which we had reasons to believe would be available for the 2019-20 season could no longer be provided. That led to a number of confidential discussions in the search for a new major shareholder, and Valeo partners were appointed to widen the search for new backers.
- On 12th February 2019, the club announced that they had engaged the services of Valeo, but unfortunately to date, we have not been able to attract new funding from that activity, but the search continues.
- On 6th March 2019, Gary Hetherington and David Dockray met with the players and coaching staff to outline the current position and all were told that the rugby budget would be significantly cut for next season, it was hoped that this would eventually be £1.2 million and players were urged not to hold on awaiting new contracts if other opportunities became available to them.
- On 9th April 2019, Gary Hetherington met with the players and staff again and regrettably informed them that additional funding had not been found and that the intention was to run the side on a part time basis in 2019-20 with a total budget below £1 million.
- The rugby budget is made up from the club’s income from central funding and commercial activity less expenditure plus expected level of investment made available from the Shareholders and must be agreed before the budget can be set for next season. In the current circumstances it is important that we set a Budget that we are confident can be funded and is within our control as much as possible.
- There are eight players who are contracted for next season and the club are working with those players about their futures.
- The shareholder group, who effectively own Yorkshire Carnegie, together with loan providers, have provided outstanding support by funding over £5 million over the past five seasons, the majority of which has come from, or been guaranteed by, a major shareholder. This has produced a rugby budget that we believe will have been in the top 2 or 3 spending in the Greene King IPA Championship each season.
- The Yorkshire Carnegie Academy is run under licence from the RFU. The RFU guidelines state that a non-Premiership club will have their licence reviewed every three seasons. Three years ago, Yorkshire Carnegie received an outstanding review by the RFU and continue to hold their licence. The Academy has recently been reviewed and we are awaiting the results. The cost of running the Academy as a proportion of our income is significantly greater than any club in the Premiership, and we have less ability to hold on to the talent produced through our Academy system. Despite this, we have sustained, and in some areas, increased our investment in the Academy over a number of years as a Championship club, and we hope that continued commitment will be recognised in the results of the RFU review.
- David Dockray and Gary Hetherington, together with other Board members, will be available to speak to all fans prior to our final Greene King IPA Championship game against Hartpury on Saturday 27th April at 12.30pm at Emerald Headingley. Please email email@example.com if you wish to attend so we can gauge numbers and make sure we use a facility that can accommodate everyone who wishes to attend.