The Canberra Raiders have joined a growing list of NRL clubs to stand down staff as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and suspension of the 2020 NRL Premiership season.
The club is awaiting direction from the NRL and government heads to determine a time when the competition can re-commence. Consequently, the club is ceasing all trading and is closed for business.
Speaking to media this morning, Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner announced that the Raiders’ administration would be closed from Friday 27 March until further notice. The closure impacts about 130 staff, including players.
“The coaching staff are here for another month and there’s uncertainty about what we will be doing with them after the end of April, more than likely they’ll be taking unpaid leave,” Mr Furner said.
“With regard to the players, we’re still working with the NRL and the RLPA [Rugby League Players Association] in terms of what will happen with their pays going forward.”
The decision also sees the Canberra Raiders’ new Centre of Excellence close its doors after having opened to fanfare earlier this month.
“We just moved into this facility here it costs a lot to run; we are shutting it down. We are emptying the pools … regular services you would normally utilise are all being cut back because at the moment we can’t afford to run this place,“ Mr Furner said. “It’s magnificent. We only opened it three weeks ago. The staff are all moving in today and tomorrow, doing the move from Bruce, and that will be their last day in it.”
Overall, Mr Furner said the Raiders are in the same position as “almost every other NRL club”.
“Our revenue depends on games being played, broadcasting revenue, gate, sponsorship, merchandise sales and, for us, the leagues club support, and none of that is there at the moment.”
In a statement, the club said they will communicate information as it comes to hand via their website www.raiders.com.au and social media channels, but this will only be to relay any updated information surrounding the COVID-19 situation and/or the NRL Premiership season.
The club does not have the capacity at this time to send through fan engagement content or to respond to any questions or requests through these channels.