LIONS WITHDRAW FROM RFL AUTUMN TOURNAMENT

30 July 2020

The Board of Directors issue the following statement on the RFL’s proposed autumn tournament following the cancellation of the Championship season.

Swinton Lions RLFC wishes to confirm that following the recent official cancellation of the Championship league season, the club will also not be taking part in the proposed interim autumn tournament.

The decision to withdraw from the autumn tournament was not one which was taken lightly. However, it was the only sensible conclusion that could be drawn following careful appraisal of critical issues such as player welfare, financial impact, and covid-19 return-to-play logistical requirements.

Season 2021 will be of critical importance to clubs in the Championship and League One, and the Swinton Lions Board has an overriding responsibility to ensure that we place our organisation in the best possible shape to meet any future challenges. The possibility of injuries to key players, whilst risking immense financial burden on the club, were not conducive to participating in the autumn tournament, and we trust that all of our friends and followers will appreciate our decision given those considerations.

The club fully appreciates that our sponsors and supporters will not have seen a home match since February of this year, and indeed there will have been no league games at Heywood Road in 2020 whatsoever. The loyalty and goodwill of our fans and sponsors is of course of critical importance to the club, and over the next week we intend to contact everyone individually to discuss monies spent this season on season tickets and sponsorship, including options for next season. We acknowledge that everyone’s circumstances will be unique to themselves, so the intention is therefore to find the best way forward which suits each individual sponsor or supporter, but which hopefully has the least negative impact on the club.

Over the next few months the hard work will continue behind the scenes. We are already well advanced in our team planning and off-field planning, as well as investing significant resource into the relaunching and restructuring of our community programme. Further good news and announcements will follow frequently over the next few weeks and months.

The club also wishes to place on record its thanks to our friends and stadium hosts Sale FC, with whom we’ve maintained close contact throughout the pandemic, for their ongoing support and co-operation. We would also like to extend due credit to our governing body, the Rugby Football League, for the professional and detailed way in which it has handled the impact of the pandemic on our sport. The RFL has sometimes found itself between a rock and a hard place over the past few months, but Swinton Lions are satisfied that all major decisions have been made with great diligence and with the good of the sport at heart.

Finally, as this Board has said time and time again, Swinton Lions fans are absolutely unique in their loyalty, commitment and ingenuity. So we thank you all yet again for your unwavering support, and look forward to seeing you all at Heywood Road in the not too distant future. In the meantime please stay safe.

Steve Wild, Operations Director

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, SWINTON LIONS RLFC

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