Super League faces some tough decisions to survive

I spoke to Super League’s chief-executive Robert Elstone, who held a phone conference with all 12 of the Super League clubs and a number of RFL senior executives on Tuesday.

Dominating the discussion was the obvious – the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the game and what needs to happen to make sure the competition survives.

Like most businesses around, it’s clear a lot of hope is riding on the government.

“We need support from our government …. and if we can get that …. and if we can retain the support from our key partners, I think there is a confidence that we can get through this intact and come out the other end in reasonable shape,” the Super League CEO said.

Elstone admitted the league are looking at a number of potential start dates, including June as well as July, but he did make it clear that at this stage no one knows when that green light will be given.

“We have to take government advice on that. The situation changes so dramatically, it’s very difficult to predict and nobody is really making any strong forecasts of when a sense of normality will return,” Elstone said.

“We have to be absolutely ready to go and get games on as quickly as possible.

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“They are looking at a number of scenarios where the longer it goes on the harder it will be to form a meaningful calendar.”

The NRL has already taken drastic measures to avoid financial ruin, with several clubs standing down coaches and staff without pay. Could Super League be about to follow a similar path?

When I asked Elstone if clubs were being forced to make pay cuts, he said: “It’s a matter for them but the feeling is, that, is very much the case.

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