Tigers turn down conditional loan

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CASTLEFORD Tigers chief executive Richard Wright (pictured) has revealed that the club’s board have turned down the offer of a loan from sponsor Probiz.

The loan was intended to speed up the proposed move to a new stadium at Glasshoughton.

In a blog published on the club website Wright has taken the chance to clear up several rumours circulating about the Tigers and acknowledged that there had been talk of turning down a substantial investment by a sponsor.

He said: “Probiz founder Feisal Nahaboo offered the club a significant conditional loan with a view to it being used solely to finance the construction of the new stadium as he (like all of us) wants the club to be in the new stadium ASAP.

“As with all loans this offer had a number of conditions attached to it which we felt was not our preferred method at that moment of time.

“We were grateful that Feisal Nahaboo offered our club a way forwards which had interest for his company and his investors. It was a substantial offer and shows we have the right people around this club, but the club’s policy is that loans should be seen as a last resort should we ever need to seek additional funding to complete the new stadium.

“Loans have to be repaid and come with conditions and a cost which affect the club’s revenue and could have impacted on our desire to spend up to the salary cap once in the new stadium.

“Consequently the loan offer, whilst gratefully received, had to be declined as it did not meet our business needs at that moment in time. We are grateful to our sponsor as it’s clear that Probiz chose on their own accord to offer a way to finalise the new proposed stadium.

“Both Feisal Nahaboo and I will be constantly discussing ways to mutually cooperate for the best interests of the club as it is in all our interests to move forwards.

“Our sponsor, who has since made substantial investments elsewhere, has continued to back the club and is working with me to introduce new streams of income as part of the ongoing financial health of the club.

“Regarding progress on the stadium project, please understand the club has been asked by its commercial partners involved in this process to restrict anything going out public until such time as a commercial deal is complete.

“A significant amount of time and effort has been invested in the project to get to this point and with any deal of this magnitude confidentiality is paramount.

“The funding for the new Stadium will be primarily derived from the development of a Supermarket plus the contribution from WMDC. We’re fully confident in this scheme and its ability to generate the base funding.”

Wright described the belief that the current board was not prepared to welcome new investment into the club, as a “myth”.

He said: “I can state categorically that there has been no offer of significant investment that would be in the best long term and continued sustainability of the club in the Super League era.

“Around 1999/2000 we changed the structure of the club to open up the ownership and make it possible for people to acquire shares directly from the club, but there has been limited take up of this offer. At times we have gone out to look for such investment and pursued it vigorously but as yet without success.

“The club is in a good long term financial position due mainly to ownership of its Stadium unlike so many other clubs both in Rugby League and other sports.

“As much as we are working extremely hard to deliver the new stadium as quickly as we can, the long term security of the club has, and always will, be our main priority.

“I’d like to make clear at this point that I and the board are wholly prepared to welcome any investment that would contribute to the long-term strength of the club.

“My own shares and those of our chairman Jack Fulton have always been available to be purchased should a person/people come forward with a clear strategy and realistic business plan plus the financial resources that would allow for the club to further prosper and grow in the long term. Ultimately, the club’s interests and long term prospects have to be protected at all times.

“It is no secret that the club at present is unable to generate the income required to spend up to the RFL’s salary cap, and this is the primary reason that restricts us in realising our on field ambitions.

“I can assure you that we are constantly looking at sustainable ways to generate the shortfall.

“Whilst last season we were able to announce record sponsorship, this needs to be put into perspective. The club does very well in this area, especially with our limited facilities, income from this activity and the revenue generated is nothing like the level received by other Super League clubs, and certainly does not make such a difference as to allow us to make significant changes to our current recruitment policy.

“However, we are confident that going into the new Stadium debt free and the additional commercial revenue streams generated will enable us to spend up to the full salary cap level. We are, however, not being complacent until we move into the new stadium, and are looking at ways now to raise our salary cap expenditure to strengthen the team for next season.”