The latest on Doncaster Rovers' financial situation after Covid-19 impact

Doncaster Rovers have reached a level of financial stability but one wholly dependent on supporters returning to stadiums as planned.

By Liam Hoden
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 12:01 pm

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic on revenue streams but the club has responded with a raft of measures to ensure it will enter the new season on more steady footing.

Use of the government’s furlough scheme, a wage deferral agreed by the playing squad, the donations of supporters and a redundancy programme have helped Rovers partially offset the lack of income received since football was shut down in March.

The outlook is improving with supporters currently expected to be permitted to return to stadiums in early October - though in limited numbers.

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Keepmoat Stadium

But there remains a nervousness about the future, with the presence of local lockdowns elsewhere in the country and government policy in reaction to an ever-changing situation among the factors seeing the club plan with caution.

“Where we’re more buoyant at the moment, under the assumptions we’re currently working which is crowds back on October 1, we’ve got a stable business model,” chief executive Gavin Baldwin told the Free Press.

“And we’ve got the funds to recruit, what we believe will be a competitive team.

“If there is any slippage from that date, then it will be about going back to the owners and asking for help, and it will immediately hurt the club significantly.

“If Doncaster goes into local lockdown or if we’re not allowed to play in front of fans, say, until November instead of October, that will really hurt the model and it will hurt us pretty quickly.

“We may have season ticket holders wanting refunds. And also, one of the most lucrative things for us is the walk-up on the day and away fans, which will again hurt us if that is not happening.

"One game happening behind closed doors against one of our local rivals could hurt the bottom line by up to £100,000 for instance.

“You only need four or five of those and it really, really hurts.

“We couldn’t take too many of them without going back to the owners to ask for more money.”

The financial impact beyond football has seen Rovers renegotiate contracts with sponsors and partners to help those companies manage their way through the crisis.

Baldwin said: “We’ve spoken to most partners and tried to work with them so they’re financially stable, we’re working with our tenants so they can continue to pay rent, our fans have been incredible in helping us out so we don’t have to give refunds.

“I’d like to think we’ve worked through the furlough system well, we’ve looked at grants and hopefully we’ve made the difference up so when football returns to stadiums we’ll hit the ground running.

“It’s just if things change, that we have to worry.

“There are certain risks we just have to manage that are totally out of our control.

“As it is, with the assumptions the EFL are telling us to work based on, we are stable for now.

“Stable is far better than what we thought we could get to but it doesn’t mean we’ve got a slush fund. It just means we know what we’re working to.

“Knowing what we know now, we have a stable business model that means we should have a competitive team.”

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