Marwan Koukash has agreed to write off debt in excess of £5 million, Salford director Andrew Rosler has revealed.
Last week, the club released a statement in which it confirmed the club’s former owner had agreed to nullify all money owed to the club, on the proviso the club started to receive more support from the community.
The move has the potential to be hugely pivotal in Salford’s long-term future, but perhaps more pressingly, their immediate future too.
Rosler, who was part of a consortium that took over from Koukash ahead of the current season, believes his decision has the potential to make the club a more attractive proposition to investors, who could help finance the cash-strapped club.
“I think day-to-day it doesn’t make an awful lot of difference because that debt was effectively frozen and we weren’t under pressure to pay,” he said.
“But both symbolically and from a potential investment point of view, I thought it was really important. His (Marwan’s) challenge is to the community and city of Salford to stand up and fight for the club. If it does he will write off an incredible amount of money, more than there ever has been in the sport.
“If you look at the accounts publically available it is probably north of £5 million.”
It means the vast majority of the club’s debt is now accounted for, with an existing CVA now the club’s major offset to fill.
“There’s not much historical debt, but there are obligations under the old CVA which were under a period of deferment and we’re working on that,” Rosler said.
“That wasn’t this company’s debt, it belonged to the old company, it was just one of the conditions of the Super League shares being transferred. That’s pretty much it. The club has probably got a triple Z credit rating, no favours from inland revenue. No sport’s club gets any tolerance. So we’ve probably got little opportunity to get in debt going forward so our challenge operationally is can we bring more money in than going out.”
But with the condition of the debt being written-off on the proviso people within the community coming to the club, Rosler has outlined his plans to make that happen and believes it is achievable if the club start marketing properly.
“I don’t think the club has ever had a particularly well thought out strategy in terms of its fanbase, growing its commercial revenue, engaging with the community.
“I think under Marwan we invested a lot on the pitch, our challenge now is to look how we can do all the things the club should have been doing. We’ve not got an awful lot of time and we’ve not got an awful lot of money, but outside the club, externally through collaborations, we’ve got some really good strategies and big employers and agencies that recognises as the city’s premier sporting club we’re really important.
“From my perspective, I can’t see anything historically where the club has tried to tap into new areas. So rather than thinking, we’re isolated from where our core support is, we’ve actually moved to a new demographic, a different population. I know from speaking to people from surrounding areas in our locality we haven’t tapped into them. We’ve not even tried to tap into that so as far as I’m concerned our crowd figures are important, but if we do half the things we want to we’ll see progress.”
In the more immediate term, the club will still be living within its means, and Rosler said he couldn’t give any assurances on what impact that would have on the playing budget.
“I’m never going to give assurances,” he said.
“There are three scenarios. Are we going to finish in the top eight as soon as possible, that’s one scenario. Then we look at who we need for next season, but we can beat the rush and sign the players we need to.
“We want players that are hungry and want to play for Salford. Perhaps some knew in the past we had to overpay and could overpay. There’s then the Middle 8s position where you don’t know what’s going to happen. Then there is the scenario of relegation. There’s absolutely no way on this earth that we can categorically say what our squad is going to look like in three or four months, it depends on how we progress. What I can say is we’re in conversations with many clubs and many players.”