Featherstone Rovers facing cut in funding

Featherstone Rovers general manager Davide Longo
Featherstone Rovers general manager Davide Longo

Featherstone Rovers could face a potential 55 per cent cut in central funding for next season due to finishing outside the top four.

The club will need to release a number of playing staff in order to remain sustainable, according to general manager Davide Longo.

Longo admitted that departures were already planned and he believes that Rovers will still be able to compete for a top four spot next season.

“Featherstone Rovers will experience a potential 55 per cent cut in central distribution funding, therefore immediate action is required in order to remain sustainable,” said Longo.

“A removal of playing staff was already planned, regardless of whether the team secured a top-four spot.

“I believe this will not have an impact on the value of the match day experience we provide supporters. In fact, It appears that the Championship will be a stronger competition next year.

“Certainly, if Bradford Bulls and York City Knights gain promotion from League 1 in place of the Championships weakest clubs, they will come up and be stronger financially.

“I also believe that if any Super League teams are relegated to the Championship then they will receive far more central distribution funding than we will, and will have the capacity to bring further excitement to the division.

“The club’s ability to compete with those teams next season will be heavily driven by the level of support maintained over the Championship Shield campaign.”

With four full-time sides in this year’s Championship, Longo says the club had prepared for the possibility of not reaching the top four.

And he admitted that almost everyone at the club was surprised by how narrow the gap was between second and sixth place.

He continued: “This season was destined to provide the toughest Championship competition to date.

“We always knew there were going to be six elite clubs going for four spots and it would come down to fine margins.

“The extent to which that was the case was beyond what anyone could have imagined.

“I don’t believe the two clubs which missed out were the ones many would’ve predicted. We felt that we had positioned the club with a strong team, but there was always an awareness that we may drop out of the four.

“We were fully aware that there were a significant number of players off-contract at the beginning of the season, which meant that we were somewhat protected and in control of our own destiny.

“We definitely rolled the dice to not only make the top-four, but try to ensure our first-choice 17 could compete with Super League clubs.

“This was a calculated risk from a club who wanted to push on after securing our status as the country’s best part-time club last season, but as is necessary in sport, we had a plan for if this did not materialise as expected.”