Hudgell gives dire warning

Neil Hudgell has warned Rugby League may no longer exist as a full-time sport if it does not receive crucial financial support soon, before suggesting the game re-structures to allows only clubs with Super League ambitions to remain in the professional structure.
With Rugby League waiting on a verdict from the Government about a financial rescue package, Hudgell has issued a stark warning that without it there could be a bleak future ahead for the game.
He told League Express: “Without that Government backing, and a broadcaster that doesn’t cut us some slack, we may not be around as a full-time, elite sport come the end of the year.
“The Government will expect us to cut out unnecessary costs and layers of bureaucracy if they can be persuaded to assist us. Similarly, Sky will want a joined-up approach and we need to look to complete the full season.”
Hudgell has also urged the sport’s key figures to come together and unite to plot a route through the current crisis, which, in his eyes, also includes cutting down the professional game.
He said: “We need a streamlined sport where only clubs with top-league ambitions are professional.
“It’s a chance to restructure the whole game. The professional game can’t afford two executives; and it can’t afford 30-plus professional clubs.”
Hudgell also revealed that he will not be investing any more of his personal wealth into Hull Kingston Rovers until he is given clear assurances about what the promotion and relegation picture in Super League looks like for the rest of this season.
He has invested millions of pounds into the Robins since assuming control of the club, and said: “On a personal level I want to know what’s going to happen with promotion and relegation.
“If we end up with a skewed fixture list, compromising integrity, you can be sure I’m not putting in six months graft if I run the risk of relegation at the end of it.
“I want those assurances by the time we come off furlough and look again at playing. Until then I’m not committing any more money to the sport, I’d be crazy to do so.”
Hudgell also confirmed that he has implemented pay cuts at the Robins until the end of November, and also suggested the possibility of pay-per-view streaming of games when sport eventually does return as a possible income stream.
“We will review the cuts earlier if circumstances change, but we don’t expect the landscape to get any better,” he said.
“We’ve lost concerts at our stadium and other huge revenue streams there. Games behind closed doors loses us money. We may have to entertain them though to satisfy the broadcaster. If we can bring about pay-per-view streaming, that might be a partial solution.”