A concerned Gallagher Premiership club owner has laid bare the stark financial cost the game was having on his bottom line before the economically disastrous coronavirus pandemic even struck. Rugby around the world has been placed in cold storage in the fight to combat the spread of the deadly virus. It has resulted in players in England accepting a 25 per cent pay cut and backroom staff being placed on furlough.
It’s a dramatic pause that London Irish owner Mick Crossan now hopes will be invaluable in helping the financially crippled Premiership come up with a better business plan rather than continuing to have the majority of its clubs lose money on a year-on-year basis.
Having made his money as chairman of Powerday, the recycling and waste management firm, Crossan first started investing in London Irish in 2013. His experience hasn’t been plain sailing at the twice relegated club, the owner even putting recent ill health down to the stress of keeping the operation afloat.
Speaking to the The Mirror about the financial concerns currently hauling rugby in England, Crossan said: “Last season cost me £4million and I can’t afford that. Club rugby has to change. We can’t keep relying on rich benefactors. It’s definitely not a sustainable business. Everyone’s suffering.
“This crisis may actually be a saving grace for club rugby, in the respect that everyone will hopefully now cut their cloth to suit their pockets. I honestly think it will do club rugby good by bringing common sense back to the clubs and the finances of what players are being offered. Hopefully it will give a kick in the arse to some of the agents as well.”
London Irish have pinned their future viability on a move back to London this summer as they will groundshare at Brentford Football Club’s new stadium after spending the last 20 years outside the capital in Reading. “For a lot of things in the world, including rugby, this crisis is maybe the kick up the backside people needed.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now