Roughyeds' focus switches fully to 2021

Date published: 03 August 2020

Oldham Rugby League Club is already planning for the 2021 Betfred Championship season following the announcement by chairman Chris Hamilton that Roughyeds will not be competing in the Rugby League's invitational competition for Championship and League One clubs, planned for October and November.

Oldham are one of many clubs which, for various reasons, have decided not to take part in the voluntary tournament.

In a statement to fans on the club's website, the chairman said: "This was going to be an exciting year as we wanted to cement our promotion back to the Championship.

"We will now redouble our efforts for 2021 to make sure that happens.

"We also have to be realistic about the financial position in which COVID-19 has left the club.

"We face new challenges for the remainder of this year and into 2021 at least.

"Because of the pandemic, clubs in the Championship and League One will receive reduced central distribution by 15 to 20 per cent next year and that alone leaves us to fill a financial hole of £27,000.

"It remains a constant challenge to keep the club going and it is now more vital than ever that we all pull together in the same direction.

"If anybody has any suggestions for raising money we will be glad to hear them.

"In the meantime, we are busy on squad strengthening for next season and we are confident we will put together a squad that will see us establish ourselves in the Championship.

"Your help has never been more important."

Mr Hamilton also told fans that the club couldn't compete in the upcoming autumn tournament because it couldn't comply with the bio secure requirements issued by the government and adapted for rugby league by the RFL.

 A club's training base, for example, had to have no access to the public - impossible at a community facility like the Vestacare Stadium - and squads were not allowed to train at off-site gyms, which Oldham do.

The statement went on: "Regardless of other requirements, we were simply not able to comply. 

"The decision wasn't taken lightly but there were other considerations as well.

"The squad has not trained together since March 14 and while they have continued to do what has been possible on their own it was only a small part of what they would normally do.

"Looking forward, we will now begin the process of what happens with sponsors and season-ticket holders who have supported us for the season which will not now be completed.

"They will be contacted in the near future and given various options, including claiming a refund.

"Some will need to do this and we completely understand, but we are also hopeful that others may be able to help the club by receiving other benefits instead.

"What happens with season tickets for 2020 as well as 2021 will, inevitably, play a big part in what we can do.

"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 continue to take care."

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