I want to provide everybody with another update regarding the position in which the club currently finds itself.
Following the recent announcement by the RFL that the league season would not continue, clubs were given details of the Autumn competition which they could enter as an alternative.
Unfortunately for us, as with the league competition, we were unable to comply with the bio secure requirements issued by the Government and adapted for rugby league by the RFL.
The main examples were that a club’s training base had to have no general public access, which clearly is not the case at the Vestacare Stadium due to the very nature of the facility as a community base. In addition, clubs could not use a gym facility off site, which we do.
Regardless of other requirements, we were simply not able to comply and therefore we have today advised the Rugby Football League of our decision that we are unable to take part in the Autumn competition which therefore brings our 2020 season to an end.
The decision has not been taken lightly but there are many considerations to take into account. One of the main ones was player and staff welfare and, to date, the squad has not trained together since March 14 and while they have continued to do what has been possible on their own it is, nevertheless, only a small part of what they would normally do.
They and the coaching and support staff can now be clear that nothing competitive will take place until next year.
Of course, 2020 was going to be an exciting year for the club as we wanted to cement our promotion back to the Betfred Championship. We will now redouble our efforts for 2021 to make sure that happens.
While we intend to look forward we also have to be realistic about the financial situation in which the Covid-19 pandemic has left the club.
We are acutely aware also of its impact on each and every one of you.
Firstly, we will now begin the process of what happens with our sponsors and season-ticket holders who have supported us for the season which will not now be completed.
People will be contacted in the near future and given various options as to what they can do, including claiming a refund. Of course, some people will need to do this and we completely understand that but we are also hopeful that others may be able to help the club by receiving other benefits instead.
From a club perspective we are also facing new challenges for the remainder of this year and into 2021 at least.
Clubs throughout the Championship and League One have been told that central distributions will reduce by 15-20 per cent next year because of the pandemic and that alone leaves us with a financial hole of £27,000-plus to fill.
It remains a constant challenge to keep the club going and that is another indication of what will be needed next year alone.
At this time, it is even more vital than ever that we all pull in the same direction and if anybody has any suggestions for raising money we would be happy to hear about them.
In the meantime, I can tell you that we are busy in regards to squad strengthening for next season as the recruitment season has started a lot earlier this year for obvious reasons. We are confident we will put together a squad that can see us establish ourselves in the Championship but your help has never been more important. What happens with season tickets for 2020 as well as 2021 will, inevitably, play a big part in that.
Finally thank you for the different ways you have supported the club so far in the last few months and in view of recent further restrictions imposed on the Oldham area please, please continue to take care.
Oldham Rugby League Club