Roughyeds season could start in March says Chairman

Reporter: Jon Chubb
Date published: 23 November 2020

Oldham’s Rugby League team might be back on the pitch a year after they played their last game when the 2020 season was cancelled due to the pandemic.

That’s according to the Roughyeds’ Chairman who has issued a statement thanking fans and sponsors and also giving an update on the current situation with the Championship side.

“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.” said Christopher Hamilton.

It has been reported that the Rugby Football League has agreed a new £12 million package with the Government aimed at helping those clubs in need. This is on the back of another £16m which was made available to Super League and some Championship clubs a short time ago.

However Mr Hamilton says Oldham haven’t had any of the money to help them through the pandemic: “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. “

In the meantime the club say they are hoping to be back in training next month, although that’s not a guarantee at the moment: “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.” Christopher Hamilton added.

Mr Hamilton finishes his statement by thanking the fans and sponsors for their assistance during this current time: “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.”

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