Barrow chairman alleges that Coral cup deal is one-year – and no TV deal agreed for Bash

Barrow chairman Steve Neale has written an extraordinary column attacking the Rugby Football League – in which he reveals that Coral’s deal for the Challenge Cup has a clause in which the title sponsor can withdraw after one season.

Neale, writing in the North West Evening Mail, has detailed how he attended an RFL meeting last week along with other clubs, which he says was ‘more of a workshop for the clubs about how to improve their media and commercial performance’.

And Neale has suggested that Coral, who reportedly agreed a two-year deal at the start of the season to sponsor the game’s flagship competition, apparently have the option to withdraw their sponsorship after a single season. Neale explained: “They (the RFL) then proudly tell us that Coral have signed a two-year deal for the Challenge Cup but then mention they can pull out after one. In my eyes, that’s a one-year deal.”

Neale did not stop there – with some interesting revelations about the Summer Bash. Neale has suggested not only is there no TV deal with Sky finalised for the Bash, which takes place in Blackpool this May, but there is no sponsor, and ‘not one piece of ground advertising has been sold’.

“I do know things that directly affect our club, like there is no TV broadcast agreed for the Summer Bash,” he said.

“This is delaying the production of tickets for the clubs to distribute because we haven’t agreed kick-off times. We take in all the money from our own sales, but the only ones currently available are on the RFL website. Please hang fire if you intend to go and buy them from the club.

“There is also no sponsor for the Summer Bash and not one piece of ground advertising has been sold. This is a big event in the Championship calendar. All of the clubs’ representatives in the room could have sold some.”

The RFL have been approached for comment by TotalRL to clarify the Coral situation.