Doncaster Knights to remain full time despite RFU funding cuts

Whatever the outcome of the funding argument between the RFU and Championship clubs, departing director of rugby Clive Griffiths says Doncaster Knights will continue being a full-time club in 2020-21.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 12:53 pm
Castle Park, home of Doncaster Knights. Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

“That’s down to the legacy of people like Steve Lloyd and Tony De Mulder and the way they have run the club,” said Griffiths.

Although the club’s gates aren’t as high as some of their rivals – there were over 2,200 for their game at Bedford on Saturday – few other clubs can match their infrastructure or commercial operation.

“I think that there might be some compromise on what was initially suggested, but clubs will still find themselves having to fill the gap,” he said. “Even having to find another £50,000 each year would be a big ask for some.

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“When you look at a club’s budget it’s not all about players. There is the kit, medical expenses, insurance, travel, accommodation, staff.

“I certainly think that will be cutbacks within the league and there will be less overnight stays than has been the case.

“I think it’s likely that some other clubs will have to go part-time as some have done in the past. At the moment you have Bedford, Ampthill and Yorkshire Carnegie, who look set to go down, who are part-time.

“Some clubs are better placed geographically than others to run a part-time club and still be able to attract good players because of the local job opportunities.”

One way for clubs to mitigate some of the proposed cuts in central funding would be to grow their support base.

“We’d like to be attracting attract bigger crowds than we are currently getting and gates are down on what they were a few years ago,” said Griffiths. “But to be fair we haven’t been at our best in the last couple of seasons so you probably can’t blame the supporters.”

Although he is no longer involved in the retention and recruitment of players – Steve Boden, the man who will replace him at the top as from the end of the season taking on the task - Griffiths feels that Knights could benefit if others clubs do go part-time.

“I’m sure it will be the case that players wanting to remain full-time will look at Doncaster – not least because of the facilities at Castle Park,” he said.

“But it depends on what they, or their agent, are asking for, because we always work to a budget.”