Sheffield Eagles preparing for 'worst-case scenario' heading into new rugby season
Sheffield Eagles are taking a cautious approach heading into the 2021 Betfred Championship season.
Fixtures for the new campaign were revealed last week, with Sheffield’s league season kicking off on the April 4, when they take on Bradford Bulls.
With uncertainly surrounding the return of spectators, the club’s general manager, Liam Claffey, states they are taking precautions, and will make use of government loans to help them financially.
He said: “Our budgets are quite cautious, as we are basing our budget on our cash flow this year. Although we hope fans can return this season, we have to work for the worst-case assumption.”
Even through the streaming of games live, Claffey does not expect to generate a profit, adding: “It will be very difficult to make money from streaming, as it comes with significant costs, so we will look to maximise our revenue in terms of sponsorship and advertising instead.”
The Eagles will also have to head on the road for their home games, which will take place at the Keepmoat stadium, after the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park was deemed unsuitable because of the lack of facilities, as well as not being Covid secure.
“Credit to Sheffield City council, as they tried to find us a venue in the city. When we explored other opportunities, Doncaster was top of the pile because they knew the procedures and had a well thought-out plan in place,” Claffey said.
Claffey praised the Rugby Football League for the role they have played in helping clubs through this difficult period.
He said: “To give them credit they have been quite good in the last 12 months, helping with Covid related matters and holding our hands through the process. They have stepped in and stepped up.”
Despite plenty of hurdles in place, he is looking forward to the new season getting underway.
“We have a youthful and hungry squad, which is exiting,” added Claffey. “It will be tough, but we are certainly looking forward to it.”
While the Championship gets underway on April 4, Eagles will bring the curtain up on the new Rugby League season when they take on York City Knights in their Betfred Challenge Cup First Round tie on Friday March 19. The match will be available to stream live, with details yet to be announced.