Uncertainty over central funding could see people walk over from rugby league, believes Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard

Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard believes some people could walk away from rugby league due to the ongoing uncertainty over central funding.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 5:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 5:58 pm
Sky Sports contract to broadcast rugby league games from the 2022 season is set to be significantly less than previous years. Picture: Getty Images.

Clubs have still not been told what their distribution is going to be next season, something Lingard has branded a “disgrace.”

Sky Sports have renewed their broadcast deal until 2023, but it is believed that agreement is significantly less than the previous contract.

It meant clubs were expecting a cut in their central distribution but have still not been informed how much will be available next season.

Super League and the RFL are looking to realign following a split and a working group, which includes Batley chairman Kevin Nicholas, held a meeting with Super League chiefs earlier this month.

“I feel we are at a crossroads with rugby league,” Lingard wrote on social media.

“We are currently half way through a season and we still don’t know what prize money we are playing for.

“We don’t know what distribution we are getting next season and there isn’t a meeting until August to try and find out what we are playing for.

“The TV money is a lot less than it has previously been so everyone is expecting a cut but how much?

“How can teams re-sign or recruit players not knowing what they have to spend?

“Not only will players have to decide if its worth the sacrifice but coaches, physios and all other backroom staff will have to decide whether the time and sacrifice is worth the little money they get to continue in the sport.

“If your job offered you a 50 per cent pay cut to do the same job, would you continue to do it?

“So clubs might not have players, coaches, physios and doctors come next pre-season and after the sacrifices that people have made this year to not only get the season up and running but hopefully get it to a conclusion, I believe that the sport has totally disrespected everyone involved.

“To be halfway through the season and still not know what we are playing for is a disgrace.

“From a club’s point of view financially, why should they provide an incentive to win games if they aren’t rewarded financially for a higher finish in the table?

“If you are safe from relegation what is the point in winning games unless you are financially rewarded to do so? Rugby league needs to decide quickly what direction it wants to go so everyone can decide whether it’s worth the sacrifice.”