Coronavirus: Championship and League One clubs ‘all fighting for the same cause’

For rugby league clubs outside of Super League, ensuring financial stability is a difficult balance act at the best of times.

The majority of teams in the Championship and League One are part-time and at both levels clubs are reliant on match-day income. That has left them hit hard by the season being suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Matters are complicated by each club receiving a different level of central funding from the RFL. However, they are presenting a united front in regular video conferences to ensure they all survive for when the 2020 season is eventually able to resume.

Championship side Bradford Bulls are one of the clubs who have furloughed their staff during this period and, speaking to the Golden Point daily podcast, football manager Stuart Duffy gave an insight into what life is like for them and their rivals at present.

“It’s different to Super League in as much as the distribution money is different,” Duffy, who has been involved with the club for 22 years, told Sky Sports. “Some clubs get more than others whereas in Super League everybody gets the same.

“Some clubs will be managing better than others, but those who get the most distribution money probably have the biggest budgets and have spent the most on players. I know we would struggle without the gate money, but some clubs could probably survive on the distribution money.

“I think there is a will among the players and staff to make sure we get through this and I think the game itself can come out of this stronger.

Everybody is together, it’s an ‘us against them’ attitude at the moment and we’re all fighting for the same cause which is the future of this great sport

Stuart Duffy

“Everybody is together, it’s an ‘us against them’ attitude at the moment and we’re all fighting for the same cause which is the future of this great sport.”

The Bulls were sitting seventh in the Championship with two wins and two defeats from their opening four matches before the season was suspended, having also run Super League side Wakefield Trinity close in their fifth-round Challenge Cup tie.

Toronto Wolfpack chairman Bob Hunter revealed earlier this week there had been talks about suspending promotion and relegation to and from Super League this year due to the disruption caused by coronavirus.

Duffy is sympathetic to those views, but admitted he would rather see promotion and relegation maintained if the campaign can be played to a conclusion in all three professional divisions.

“It’s a difficult one, isn’t it?” Duffy said. “It’s one where you’d think if you were a club at the top of our division you’d want promotion and relegation, but it depends how the season pans out.

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