Catalans' Wembley appearance blamed for RFL's loss of £327k last year

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer
RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer

The Rugby Football League made a loss of £327,000 in 2018, which it says was largely due to the low crowd for the Challenge Cup final.

The governing body had anticipated returning to profit after posting a £2million loss in 2017 when it paid out a significant six-figure sum to facilitate the exit of chief executive Nigel Wood and chief commercial officer Roger Draper.

Those hopes were scuppered when Catalans Dragons reached Wembley and took around 5,000 fans with them, resulting in an attendance of 50,672, the lowest for a generation.

The latest financial results were delivered to clubs at the annual meeting in Doncaster, where they were told an adopted budget for 2019 is expected to generate a profit of £207,000 to increase cash and reserves, ahead of further projected profits in 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, clubs are still waiting to discover if Ottawa will enter League 1 in 2020.

It is more than three months since Canadian Eric Perez, the founder of Toronto Wolfpack, was given permission to re-locate Hemel to the Canadian capital and two months since he got the all-clear to enter next season's competition.

"Discussions are well advanced with Ottawa," RFL's interim chairman Simon Johnson said. "We've got a board meeting towards the end of August when it's on the agenda again.

"So I would expect if there is an announcement to come, it will come shortly after that."

Perez says no decision has yet been made and his consortium have a contractual issue to resolve before being in a position to make an announcement.

The RFL has also approved an application from New York to join League 1 but has told them they must wait until 2021.