Trinity boss gives insight into Wakefield’s survival plans

Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter believes it could take years for Rugby League to fully recover financially from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many clubs are facing an uncertain future the longer there is no domestic rugby, depriving them of crucial income streams.

Wakefield are perhaps an exception to that rule, owing to their financial stability, but Carter admits the effects of the current crisis will hit everyone.

And he drew parallels with the 2008 financial crisis when asked by League Express how long it may take the sport to get back on an even keel this time.

“The financial crisis took five years to recover from, and this has been a complete lockdown of the economy,” he said.

“If we could get back on an even keel in a couple of years that would be good. I work on a three-month, eight-month and two-year plan and have to consider all options.

“We have to be realistic. I’m sure every one of my sponsors would love to fulfil the deals we’ve got with them but they’re just not going to be able to. I had one in tears on the phone to me because he didn’t know where his business was going.

“In a year’s time, are fans going to have enough money to come to two home games a month? These are all things to consider.”

Carter has written off gate and sponsorship income in his newly-revised financial projections for Wakefield this year, leaving the club with what he admitted is a shortfall of hundreds of thousands of pounds in a ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best’ scenario.

But he believes the club will survive after furloughing all employees except for himself and two other members of staff to keep the club running.

“There are some sponsors who will survive and even thrive, and end up paying us, so it’s not all doom and gloom,” he said.

“But I have wiped everything apart from Sky money off the income. It’s well into six figures, and I wish there was an easy answer. But as the custodian of this club, my priority is getting everyone through to November the best I can.

“Our entire workforce is around 110 when you take into account the foundation and the catering staff. We’ve furloughed them all except for our general manager and our media manager, and we three are taking care of what needs to be done from home.”