Start of 2021 season delayed for Hornets

Date published: 21 January 2021

Rochdale Hornets’ start to the season has been delayed until later in the year due to the current public health situation and the likely implications on the return of fans to elite sport.

Following a virtual meeting between the RFL and Betfred Championship and League 1 clubs last week, it was decided that the Championship season should be delayed by several weeks from the scheduled start of late February, and that there would be a longer delay to the start of the League 1.

League 1 clubs will be cleared to return to training in February, but initially only for “Stage 1 plus” – which permits socially distanced (non-contact) training outdoors – with the intention of moving to “Stage 2”, with contact training at a later date

In a statement, Hornets’ chief executive Steve Kerr said: “We indicated firmly to the RFL that Rochdale Hornets WILL be ready to play in 2021. It is our view that the club and sport cannot go another season without meaningful competition.

“We do not take for granted the exemption that the government has bestowed on us through being an elite sport. However, in order to continue to train and eventually play, the club must meet the revised protocols developed by the RFL, which we are fully supportive of.”


Steve Kerr, Rochdale Hornets Chief Executive
Steve Kerr, Rochdale Hornets Chief Executive


Steve went on to say: “The public health situation is not lost on us and whilst we are planning for a return, we are not out of the woods, and I urge you to all be vigilant and adhere to the government guidelines. We are all looking forward to welcoming fans back to the Crown Oil Arena, but we must remain patient and in the meantime we need the support of our fans

“Matt, his team and all our essential staff will now need to be tested weekly at considerable expense. If that wasn’t difficult enough to manage, we are balancing our finances on a 20% reduction in central funding and we are faced with the prospect of playing behind closed doors.

“Whilst we remain resolute and understanding of the situation we must also be honest that our 2021 forecasted revenues aren’t likely to fully recover. This latest unforeseen delay means we have been unable to sell season tickets, hospitality or sponsorships, all of which we rely on to support our cashflow.

“The RFL protocols will be placing the club under significant administration, logistical and financial strain.

“We are under no illusion as to how difficult a task this is to manage, but with your help we feel we can rise to this challenge.

“Our directors are unwavering in their commitment to support the club, but as we have all said from day one, fans and supporters must all pull together. I would therefore ask you to help your club by purchasing your ‘All Hornets’ memberships, donate to the squad builder, buy an extra few lines on the lottery and purchase some great apparel from our kit partner Supro. If every fan did this it would give us an uplift in our revenue that we will be reliant on in the months to come.

“In the next few weeks we will issue an invite to fans to join us on a zoom meeting so that we can continue to share with you all the work that is being done to get us back playing.”

For ways you can support Hornets financially, click here.

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