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Hoping to Be Back With a Bang — Chris

The following is a statement from club chairman Christopher Hamilton in which he thanks fans and sponsors for their support during the pandemic and gives an insight into where the club stands in relation to starting up again in 2021.

Good evening all. I want to bring you all up to date with the current situation regarding the club getting ready for the 2021 season, but first of all I want to refer to the most recent statement from the RFL in which it is reported that the Government has provided an extra £12m of loan money to add to the £16m which they made available some time ago.

It was also reported that all ten Uk-based Super League Clubs, plus a number of Championship and League 1 clubs, have taken advantage of the Government’s initial £16m goodwill, but so that you all know where we stand as a club I can tell you that we were NOT one of the recipients of the loan money. Understandably, there was a criteria for application and we didn’t fall within its requirements. In view of the Government’s new loan money and the ongoing situation regarding Covid, games without fans etc, it remains to be seen what happens to criteria and the allocation of the new money, but up to now anyway we have not been involved.

Following the curtailment of the 2020 season it has been a long and frustrating period for everybody because we all want to see the team back out on the pitch as soon as we safely can.

At present, I can’t tell you what the exact position will be regarding fans being allowed back to see matches. That is understandable given that we are in a situation that can change day to day. However, we hope it will be sooner rather than later.

We are currently working through all the things we need to do in order for the RFL to sign off a return to training. While that might sound easy, the fact is that the coming pre-season programme, and the return to training, will be very different to anything we have known previously. We need to continue to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and to that end we have a special schedule that includes online education, risk assessments and a whole host of other changes to the norm.

We hope to start training again early next month — all being well — and at a recent meeting of clubs with the RFL, there was a genuine desire to start the 2021 season as soon as possible, even if the current restrictions on fans attending matches are still in place. We all hope that will not be the case, obviously.

At the moment the Championship is looking at the season starting in early March, instead of the end of January which was the original plan, and we are hoping to come back with a bang.

We have put together what we think is a really strong squad for the 2021 season, and that has only been possible because of the tremendous support we have had from our 2020 season-ticket holders, sponsors, fans and lottery members. We are aiming to build on the commitment you have shown and, as such, we will shortly be launching our 2021 season ticket offer.

Player sponsorship packages, including backing for all our new players, are available now. We are keeping the cost at the same price as last year, £375, and with some great re-signings available, as well as our many new players, we hope to interest fans and businesses in supporting the club through this channel. If you would like to do this please contact the club on 07904 898177 or via email at: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk.

The financial landscape in these times of unprecedented peace-time hardship, continues to be a big challenge for the club, but we have a real determination to come out on the other side stronger than ever.

As I have said previously, the support we have received from you to date has been humbling. On behalf of the club a massive THANK-YOU to you all.

Please continue to keep up your support in whatever ways you can. In the meantime, I will provide more updates as we work through the current situation.

As ever, please continue to follow the Government’s rules and keep yourself, your family and your friends safe.

Christopher Hamilton
Chairman
Oldham Rugby League Club

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