Lingard slams “disrespect”

Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard says lack of clarity from the RFL over lower-division funding levels has left him and others questioning their future in a game which he believes has “disrespected” them.

Lingard says the sport is “at a crossroads” as clubs try to cope with the effects of the pandemic and a likely drop in central distribution under the new broadcast deal.

“We are currently halfway through the season and still don’t know what prize money we are playing for,” he wrote on social media.

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

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

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

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

“Not only will players have to decide whether it’s worth the sacrifice, but coaches and backroom staff whether the time and sacrifice is worth the little money they get.”

Lingard, who played for Batley for ten years and has also been head coach at community club Bramley Buffaloes and League 1 Keighley, continued: “After the sacrifices people have made this year to not only get the season up and running but hopefully to get it to a conclusion, I believe the sport has totally disrespected everyone involved.

“RL needs to decide quickly what direction it wants to go so everyone can decide whether it’s worth the sacrifice.”

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