Troubled Yorkshire Carnegie in ‘critical condition’, admits Gary Hetherington

Gary Hetherington.
Gary Hetherington.
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THE future of financially-crippled Yorkshire Carnegie is now in a “critical position” according to Gary Hetherington.

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Gary Hetherington, right, watches on from an empty stand as Yorkshire Carnegie played Hartpury College in the Championship in April. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Gary Hetherington, right, watches on from an empty stand as Yorkshire Carnegie played Hartpury College in the Championship in April. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

One newspaper report suggested yesterday the club were set to enter a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) over continued issues regarding their funding.

Carnegie have been in disarray for months since a significant shareholder – in holding company Yorkshire Tykes RUFC – unexpectedly pulled the plug on planned spending.

The decision left the Championship club in dire straits and, though they finished the campaign, all their out-of-contract players have now moved on elsewhere. Carnegie said they would operate as a part-time operation in 2019-20, but now there are fears the club will struggle to operate at all.

Although it is not in any way laden with debt and staff are not owed wages for this season, nine players had already signed contracts for 2019-20 that cannot now be honoured.

Club chiefs have been trying to find a compromise and arrange severance deals, but all nine have to agree for that to happen.

Currently, however, it is understood three players have refused to accept terms, which has prevented the club from moving forward.

All players were emailed on Friday with the latest state of play and the Rugby Football Union are now involved in the process of trying to help find solutions.

The governing body are unlikely to release central funds for next season unless it is confident Carnegie – currently with no squad or coaching staff – can fulfil their fixtures.

Leeds RUFC chief executive Hetherington last night released a statement to The Yorkshire Post.

It read: “The LRUFC Board of Sir Ian McGeechan, Professor Paul Smith, Robert Oates and myself are responsible for the running of Yorkshire Carnegie and for making major decisions on the club’s future.

“And we are now awaiting a decision from the shareholders of YTRUFC (who provide funds to enable LRUFC to operate) before a further announcement can be made.

“But it is fair to say the club is in a critical position having lost its major source of funding and the Board is now working closely with the RFU and YTRUFC shareholders to manage our current predicament and hopefully plot a way forward.”

McGeechan stunned the club last month by giving notice of his resignation as Carnegie director and executive president from June 30.

He is, therefore, still expected to try to help smooth the situation before that leave date and he is leading most of the discussions with the RFU.

Speculation continues to mount that there will be no relegation from the Championship next term, which would aid Carnegie’s chances of survival if they can find enough funds for the campaign.