Financial concerns for Rochdale AFC laid bare by chairman
Date published: 05 August 2020
Willbutts Lane Stand
Rochdale Football Club will be operating on a 'significantly reduced playing budget than in previous seasons' due to the impact of coronavirus, chairman Andrew Kilpatrick has warned fans this week.
Rochdale AFC is already down by £625k this year because of the pandemic, and the financial gap looks set to increase as the club prepares for the start of the new season next month.
In a statement, Mr Kilpatrick said that the club will be forced to reduce the capacity of the stadium to 2,170 fans initially and this reduction could lead to a 'further 1m hole in finances' should it be in place from 1 October to the end of the season.
He said: “If that limit is to be in place for the entire season, then we face a loss of revenue of £650k, as well as a loss of £450k from executive boxes and hospitality, resulting in a further £1m hole in our finances.”
Since Rochdale last played at the Crown Oil Arena on 7 March, the only income the club has received outside of regular EFL payments has been from three sponsors: Crown Oil, Andrew Kelly Lettings and Smith Metals. No extra monies have been received from the EFL, or any contributions from the Premier League.
Mr Kilpatrick said: “It has been fantastic to continue our long-term partnerships with these sponsors and it is brilliant that they have shown their support for the club during these difficult times, however the income raised from these deals only brings in one third of a month’s normal outgoings.”
All the players out of contract in the summer were released by the club, including captain Ian Henderson, midfielder Callum Camps (who have subsequently signed for Salford City and Fleetwood, respectively), goalkeeper Josh Lillis, and strikers Calvin Andrew and Aaron Wilbraham.
The government’s furlough scheme has only covered half of the club’s £250k monthly wage bill, resulting in the £625k deficit to date. Following the players’ return to training this week ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season on 12 September, they have now been taken off furlough.
In addition, each player will now be tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, the costs of which are not subsidised by the EFL.
Mr Kilpatrick concluded: “We have been extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity of fans who have supported the club in any way they can in recent weeks. It was wonderful to see the queues of supporters lining up outside the club shop when it re-opened last week.
“Thanks also, to those who have signed up to our newly revamped Dale Lotto, and to those who have decided not to claim a season ticket refund for the remaining six unplayed games of the 2019/20 season.
“Your actions are very much appreciated, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all on behalf of the board of directors.”
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