Schoey: Elstone under pressure

Well, the heat has certainly been turned up a notch on two on Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone.

He really needs to do the business when it comes to the new broadcast deal, and the pandemic has provided a difficult double-whammy for him to wrestle with.

The lack of gate receipts means the clubs need that central funding more than ever, but at the same time, Sky, or whoever else might be interested, will be all out to drive a hard bargain.

We’ve already seen a revision of the current deal, which expires later this year, as a result of the drop in the number of televised games last season.

Apparently, it had been worth £37 million to the sport every year, but this season, each club that qualifies for a cut will receive £280,000 less.

And going forward, Sky appear to want to reduce the annual amount they pay to around £30 million or even less.

This comes at a time when Super League is reportedly facing an eye-watering £750,000 bill from the merchant banker that facilitated the private equity investment offer, which clubs decided against.

The big question is who foots that bill. If it is split between the eleven qualifying clubs, that would be around £68,000 apiece.

You’d suspect many are already skint and struggling, and with no certainty on when crowds might return, the last thing they need is another big chunk of money to find.

Let’s honour Captain Tom

Regular readers of the column will know about my admiration for Captain Sir Tom Moore.

What a legacy he left.

It’s not just the £32 million he raised for NHS Charities Together, having initially targeted £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.

Because through his spirit, resilience and determination to make a difference, he sent out a powerful and uplifting message at a difficult time – not just to this country, but the whole world.

That’s why I think the sport should honour him by asking his family for permission to put his name to the man of the match award at the World Cup final.

I wanted Sir Tom to be invited to the Challenge Cup final, and now I’m calling for his family to be invited to the biggest match our sport can stage.

What an honour it would be to receive the Captain Sir Tom Moore Trophy after the Old Trafford final.

George’s premature departure

What disappointing news for George Burgess and Wigan.

A problematic hip injury prevented him from showing anything like the form he produced for South Sydney and England, and after just eight appearances, agreement has been reached on the remaining two years of his contract.

George will now have surgery, and recovering will be a long, drawn-out process, so you can see why Wigan have taken the action they have.

He has nothing to prove, and he has to think of his long-term health, but he’ll get top-notch treatment and care, and it might just be that at some point, he feels like he can give it another go.

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