Club Statement: Stadium Update

Club Managing Director, Paul King, has issued the below update on the current situation surrounding the Salford Stadium.

Since we first spoke out publicly on the Stadium situation, we have been eager to keep our supporters informed and provide updates on the full picture as appropriately and as often as we can. This is the latest of those.

Following the expiry of our previous tenancy agreement, we have now signed a 12-month extension on the existing terms.

Additionally, Sale Sharks and Salford Red Devils have agreed and jointly presented a working proposal between the clubs to Salford City Council. The proposal outlines terms that would enable a productive relationship and a future for each at the Salford Stadium, as well as profit for all parties. Terms include an initial and fair division of commercial assets and matchday revenues.

We have agreed to the extension with a belief in the Council that their commitment to complete the stadium deal by March will materialise. Whilst conscious that the extension is the same terms as our previous agreement, the implications of operating without any tenancy agreement leaves little choice in the short-term, however, it does now provide a level of certainty heading into 2024.

Regardless of the pressures this has placed on the Club’s finances, we are committed to trying to retain the same on-pitch ambitions of previous years. Now we have certainty going into next season, I’d urge anyone still holding off from buying their season ticket to do so. We have made strides both on and off the pitch in recent years and are looking forward to building on those in 2024.

Wishing you all an enjoyable festive period – and we’ll speak again in the New Year.

Paul.

Club statement: stadium update

The Club would like to provide an update in relation to developments to the situation with the Salford Stadium.

There remains confidence from the necessary parties that an agreement on the stadium could be reached in the first quarter of 2024.

Discussions remain ongoing surrounding a short-term agreement between the Club and Salford City Council in the mean time which we expect to have further clarity come the end of this month.

We’ll continue to provide updates on the full picture when appropriate to ensure supporters remain aware of the current state of play alongside the timelines that we are aware of.

We’d also like to note our thanks to those who have showed their unwavering support of late.

AN UPDATE ON THE SALFORD STADIUM

The club would like to provide an update regarding the Salford Stadium.

Following the statement made by Mayor Dennett last week, on Thursday, a number of meetings were held by the Council in respect to the future of the Salford Stadium. Since the meetings, we have received several updates that we believe are important to share. These include:

  • A meeting this week between the Council and the RFL to discuss the planned process for stadium acquisition, thus enabling a long-term lease and protecting our pursuit of a Grade A rating in IMG’s grading criteria.
  • A meeting between Sale Sharks, Salford Red Devils and Salford City Council to take place imminently to discuss the rental agreement.
  • Hopeful of a new food & beverage, and car park contract to be completed by the time of acquisition which should enable Salford Red Devils to generate revenue.
  • Further comments have been shared addressing access to various commercial streams, however the timelines for the Club receiving access to these are likely to remain unfavourable given the processes that must first be undertaken.

We have received an indication of intent for the acquisition to be complete within the first quarter of 2024.

Whilst we welcome the statement made by Mayor Dennett, as well as the above, we are conscious our position remains a time-sensitive one that is currently without a resolution. Without this materialising imminently, we are only able to assume that we will continue to not have access to the various commercial streams we have operated towards and budgeted for over the coming months.

Our club is more than just a team people watch every other week. Our Club is Salford’s Club; owned by its community, and consistently here for its community as a source of jobs, education, and health. Mayor Dennett has previously spoken to the importance of Salford Red Devils as a 150-year-old institution of Salford, and despite previous experiences, there is a wholehearted belief that the Council will come through.

However, as the end of our current tenancy agreement is imminent, we remain aware that any further inaction could place this at risk.

We are optimistic following recent discussions and hope that the meetings this week offer a path to a swift resolution of critical priority, rather than serve as another example of a failed-to-materialise assurance.

Further updates will be issued as appropriate.

CLUB STATEMENT: SALFORD STADIUM UPDATE

The Club has issued the following statement on the stadium situation, and the lack of progress made during almost 3-years of discussions.

Until this point, we have been bound by good faith and an understanding that our cooperation would result in a timely and fair agreement on securing our future at the stadium built for our club over a decade ago. It is clear that our cooperation has been misinterpreted as our consent for inaction by some officers in the Council.

Admirably, Mayor Dennett has moved with the intention of keeping the Club in the City of Salford, embracing our transition to community ownership, and recognising publicly our role in the important delivery of physical and mental health support across our communities. However, for this to continue, we urgently need Council officers to act, and to see a conclusion from the Council in their negotiations over the lease before it is too late.

After endless pontification and procrastination by Council officers, we are less than a month away from having no such agreement, and the stark reality now is that without their action in the coming days and weeks, the future of the Club is at risk.

Nearly 3-years on from the initial approach made by Sale Sharks to purchase the stadium – a move which would have compromised our home and, as a result, our Super League status – the Club has continually struggled yet continued to operate under the terms of an unfavourable lease agreement that has hampered our ability to become self-sustainable and grow.

In addition, there has been a series of failures from which the Club must seemingly always bear the brunt alone.

  • A benefit of our transition to community ownership earlier this year was that we were able to stretch funds to reach the conclusion of the stadium deal, under the belief that we were months away. Not only has this failed to materialise, but the dithering has also restricted our ability to access the matched funding opportunities that are dependent on having heads of terms of the stadium deal.
  • Discussions around access to state aid are still ongoing after 12 months, throughout which the Club were asked to produce a business plan without knowing details relating to incomes or costs associated with the stadium deal.
  • The Club were also promised a percentage of food & beverage sales from February 2023. The failure to progress the stadium deal has resulted in a significant loss to budget.
  • Despite StadCo retaining 100% of F&B sales on Salford Red Devils matchdays, and StadCo taking an additional minimum 8% of our ticketing, there has been a developing narrative that the Club is not paying its way, when in reality the unfavourable terms of the current tenancy agreement is extracting from the Club’s key income sources, on top of rent.
  • A car parking price hike was introduced a week prior to our 2023 season starting, which costs the Club an unbudgeted £1k per matchday.
  • Following assured income failing to materialise, the Club took a loan of £175k from the Council and are now subsequently making repayments with interest on a loan that had the expected progress been made, would never have been needed.

The Club is personally loaned and guaranteed to its limits, having made incredible sacrifices to survive – including the subsequent sales of star players that were only necessary due to a lack of resolution over the stadium deal. Had this been in place when expected – prior to February 2023 – access to the proceeding income streams would have made unforeseen reductions to central distributions less significant a blow and our position now be much stronger.

In the last few months alone, we have generated more commercial interest in the stadium than any other party in the previous 3 years. This includes:

  • We have brought forward discussions and agreed in principle a commercial opportunity generating considerable income streams for the Club, which can only proceed once we have received heads of terms.
  • We have formulated and agreed in principle a city-wide rugby strategy, meaning every single child in the City of Salford would be able to connect with Salford Red Devils as well as our sport and the opportunities it can provide.
  • We have introduced an educational partner and sub-tenant of Salford Red Devils. This now appears to have been taken away from us, with the Club now apparently unable to gain income from any potential agreement.

The endless negotiations are unravelling an incredible amount of hard-work and opportunities generated by Salford Red Devils. We are routinely reaching for the stars, whilst simultaneously having our arms tied behind our backs.

Our current tenancy arrangement expires on 1st December. A failure to resolve places the Club at risk of a compliance issue with the RFL in respect of minimum standards due to not having a minimum 5-year tenancy agreement in place. As a result, this would severely impact our IMG grading and potentially put our Super League status at risk, reducing our central distributions from £1.31m to circa £50k per annum and effectively liquidating the Club.

We urge those involved to deliver on their word of recent years with urgency, and in doing so ensure that the future of Salford’s Club is safeguarded.

CBS Board Update: IMG Grading

The following is an update from the Board of the CBS, issued earlier directly to shareholders.

As you would have seen earlier this week, all clubs received their IMG indicative scorings prior to the ‘live’ scoring 2024 Season. We were pleased that our Club scored 13.80, ranking us 8th overall.

Being the only Community Benefit Society owned club out of the 35 involved in the grading process, we consider this a positive, yet deserved outcome ahead of the 2025 season where all clubs will be placed in their respective competitions.

As clearly set out in the Community Share Prospectus, our aim is to reach Grade A status and then to keep pushing for improvement year on year.

We are confident that the transition to community ownership, the funds raised via the Community Shares and the increased level of fan engagement, had a positive and direct impact on the scores announced and will do so for the season ahead. But this is only the start and we ALL must keep working hard together as an ownership group.

Below, is a table of the scores broken down into the five grading pillars:

You will see that there are areas which require more improvement than others and that is why we set up the Sub-Committees so owners can contribute directly in a focussed and organised way.

All the Sub-Committees have been formed and have had initial meetings, however, it is not too late for shareholders to get involved if interested. If so, please email owners@salfordreddevils.net with Sub-Committees as the subject.

Financial sustainability is a key area to work on and the Club has to be robust and disciplined in respect of budgets and governance.

Of course, we all want to see a winning team, however, we must ensure that investment on the pitch is matched with sustainable growth off the pitch. Our priority has to be increasing non-central revenues and fundraising so that we can support our Club investing in the playing squad in a solid and predictable manner and with a long term vision.

We have, in other updates mentioned the Community Ownership Fund and the Community Share standard mark. These are crucial initiatives that are only available to us as we are community owned and we must take advantage to secure such unique funding.

The announcement of the gradings underpins the plans set out in the Community Share Prospectus and we will be working on a further Prospectus in the short term. Working with the Sub-Committees and other stakeholders will help increase the reach and value of the next share issue.

We are also confident that the Stadium discussions will be resolved soon, and this will very much dictate the application to the Community Ownership Fund whilst also having a positive impact on the Stadium IMG scoring.

So, lots to be positive about and despite there being plenty of challenges ahead, we should look forward as an ownership group to taking on the big boys on and off the pitch.

But we can’t do it alone, we are #TogetherStronger, so get involved.

Regards

The CBS Board

Club Statement: Fan Behaviour at Hull KR

The Club is aware of and is investigating incidents of anti-social behaviour reported at our game against Hull KR on Saturday.

The reported incidents have placed others at risk and can result in the club being issued heavy fines.

We are proud of the passion so often displayed in the stands by our fans, and whilst we understand the excitement on the field can get us all carried away at times, it is our collective responsibility to ensure a respectful and safe environment for all to enjoy. Disorder and the behaviour of a small group should not and will not be allowed to give our supporters a bad name.

We’d like to remind our supporters that we condemn such behaviour, and that once reviewed, the Club will be taking appropriate action and issuing bans to any offenders identified.

CLUB STATEMENT: HOLDING COMPANY BOARD UPDATE

Salford Red Devils today announce several additions to the Salford RD Holdings board as co-opted and non-exec Directors following a rigorous recruitment process in collaboration with the RFL and Inclusive Boards.

Whilst strengthening the board by adding valuable and specific skillsets, the new additions will aid the club’s efforts in defining the various sub-committees and delivering the club strategy.

The new composition of the Board of Directors of Salford RD Holdings is as follows:

  • Andrew Rosler – Director
  • Anna Hardy-Watmough – Director
  • David Roberts – Director
  • Heather Robinson – Director
  • Joanne Hawkins – Director
  • Oli Randell – Director
  • Paul Trainor – Director
  • Paul King – Director
  • Shah-Zeib Ahmed – Director

In addition, Alex Romer and Ian Turner have been appointed as Non-Exec Directors.

Bios – Board Additions

Anna Hardy-Watmough

Anna is a Chartered Accountant by profession, who has worked in education for sixteen years, and has taught at Manchester Metropolitan University since 2013. She specialises in financial reporting and governance, and teaches sports governance on a Master’s programme, so is looking forward to putting her theoretical knowledge into practice. Anna is passionate about fan/community engagement, as sport is so much more than ‘just a game’. Anna brings many years of financial and governance experience, having served on a school governing body and a professional accountancy body board, and above all else she is a passionate advocate for Greater Manchester.

Alex Romer

Alex is currently the CEO of We Are Nations, who manufacture and retail apparel and accessories for many of the world’s top esports teams and rights holders. 

With a background in sales, marketing and general management, Alex has worked on some of the world’s top sports events including London 2012, 2002 FIFA World Cup and the ATP World Tour. He has also worked as a consultant to many individual sports federations, brands and charities on commercialising their intellectual property rights. 

Alex played University and Amateur Rugby League and is looking forward to bringing all his professional experience and personal passion for the game to Salford Red Devils. 

Heather Robinson

Heather has been a Salford fan since she was 15 after being introduced by a friend at school who subsequently referred to her as a glory fan after Salford beat Wigan in the Challenge Cup. With a short hiatus, Heather has supported Salford ever since.

Born in Salford, raised in Eccles, this club is in her heart and she is passionate about ensuring we’re around for the next 150 years.

Heather works in IT as VP of Customer Support for Purple – a role she absolutely loves and a company who supports her rugby league obsession. She also helps look after all things disability rugby league related for the Salford Red Devils Foundation, including learning disability rugby league, physical disability rugby league and, more recently, wheelchair rugby league.

With her support, we now have over 50 people participating each week from across Greater Manchester which is fantastic to see. Heather plays physical disability rugby league alongside wheelchair rugby league for both Salford Red Devils and Wigan Warriors ‘A’ team. Her humble brag is that she scored the first ever try for Salford in wheelchair rugby league – a feat that brought her to tears! Alongside this, she is part of the RFL Women’s Leadership and Performance program, developing female coaches. 

Heather is passionate about equality and diversity and is the current Chair of Every Body Moves Lived Advisory Board which is part of British Paralympics, driving inclusion in sports and physical activity in people with disabilities.

Corporate social responsibility is a key focus for Heather; believing that as a club we are here to improve our community and remain ethical in our approach.

Ian Turner

Ian has been working successfully in Human Resources roles for the past 25 years across multiple industries including Financial Services, Technology and Telecoms. Currently working as a Talent Director, he specialises in developing Talent pathways, driving organisational performance through its people, Diversity & Inclusion and improving culture and engagement. Providing the right structure and opportunities whilst removing barriers to enable all people, irrespective of age, gender, race or disability, to thrive and be successful is what gets him out of bed each day.

Ian has a clear personal purpose of “lead by how you make others feel” and this drives him to ensure the businesses he works with deliver sustainable success and importantly connect with and benefit their local communities.

Salford Red Devils has the potential, through its people, fans and wider community to collectively deliver something really special and Ian is excited to help the board and members secure a strong and successful future both on and off the pitch and give the fans the success they deserve.

Oli Randell

Oli Randell is an experienced Board Director, operating at a strategic level in Executive Leadership, Finance, Strategy, Process Improvement, Change Management, Risk Management, Corporate Governance and Business Management Systems.

Shah-Zeib Ahmed

Born Austrian, but Manc at heart. Shah joins the SRDRLC Board bringing over a decade’s worth of sports business experiences spanning across the globe. He runs his own consultancy specialising in ticketing having recently worked as the Head of Ticketing at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and delivered the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 

CLUB STATEMENT – TYLER DUPREE

Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease would like to clarify the club’s position regarding Tyler Dupree:

“I can confirm the club have received a transfer request from the agent of Tyler Dupree today. We have strongly refused the request, with the player still a big part of our plans going forward.

“As a club, we are committed to retaining our players and after a recent extension, Tyler is contracted until the end of 2025.”

CLUB STATEMENT

Salford Red Devils would like to clarify the position regarding the recent announcement of support from the Salford Credit Union (SCU).

Since the launch of ‘Reds Rise Together’, over 600 people have backed the campaign and the club in its efforts to become the first elite community-owned rugby league club, raising over £160,000 in the process.

Throughout these first weeks of the campaign, supporters have provided feedback and suggestions as to how the Club could make the campaign more widely accessible and we have been eagerly listening.

One frequent request was to provide a direct debit option through which supporters could support the campaign and make monthly payments in the process. As we are utilising the Crowdfunder platform over a 6-week project, with payment required upfront, a reoccurring direct debit option was not possible.

In pursuit of providing supporters with a solution whereby they would be able to make the full payment immediately, the Salford Credit Union provided an alternative option to a traditional direct debit scheme.

Salford Credit Union is a local not-for-profit organisation that will only provide finance following satisfactory credit-check and affordability assessments and will decline applications where necessary. The SCU also allows those wishing to take up the option of the SCU ownership offer the ability to choose the loan terms most appropriate to them. The Club encourage only those willing and able to do so to utilise the SCU ownership offer.

We will continue to do what we can to make involvement as accessible as possible without compromising the remarkable support of those already making history with us and remain committed to operating with transparency and honesty throughout so to ensure motives and intentions are accurately presented. We ask those questioning the Club to seek answers from us firstly before incorrectly questioning integrity and reporting potentially damaging false narratives to the detriment of the campaign.

If you would like further clarity anything relating to the community share offer, we encourage you to attend our Reds Rise Together event on the evening of Tuesday 23 May. You can secure your place by clicking here. For media enquiries, please contact owners@salfordreddevils.net with subject ‘MEDIA’.

Our continued thanks are extended to those who have already pledged their support.

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