Accounts published today show the Super League club saw turnover reduced from £11.47m to £8.75m with a loss before tax of £1.24m compared to £1.12m in 2019.
Given Rhinos, in conjunction with Yorkshire CCC, embarked on a £45m redevelopment plan of Emerald Headingley Stadium, the global pandemic was always going to have a significant impact on their financial performance.
Traditionally one of the best-run Super League clubs of the summer era, Hetherington said: “The Covid pandemic throughout 2020 brought the biggest challenge to the Company in its 130-year history and we did remarkably well to restrict losses to £1.24m.
"It was a real team effort by our fans, sponsors, key partners, players and staff who all made significant sacrifices and it will take a long time for us to fully recover.
“However, together I am sure we will recover and with the unwavering support of our supporters are well placed to do so.”
The club says, in total, furlough grants of almost £900,000 were received in the year and all staff earning above the living wage took salary cuts to the end of the financial year between 15 and 35 per cent to assist the club with ‘unprecedented cash flow pressures.’
Rhinos finance director Nigel Chambers added: “We would like to thank all our staff for their support.
“The club sought to minimise its cost base and remained in dialogue with both fans and commercial partners throughout last year.
“We are grateful to all our supporters for the incredible support they have also given.
“Only four home Super League fixtures were played with crowds during 2020, yet over 50% of supporters chose to receive no refund on memberships.
“Additionally, the club successfully applied for and received a DCMS backed Rugby Football League Investments loan of £1.25m to assist with the loss of revenue.
“Looking ahead, we are anticipating another tough year with losses expected to be similar to 2020.
“However we are forecasting for our cashflows to break even as we begin to rebuild our previously strong financial footing.
“Our aim is to return to our pre pandemic forecasts as soon as possible so we can grow from a break even budget in 2020 and fully maximise the opportunities that the new redeveloped facilities at Emerald Headingley offer us.”