From Tigers chairman Peter Tom CBE
Following the government’s release of guidelines for the return of professional sport and some easing of social distancing measures, Leicester Tigers are working through the details of a return to training for the players while also dealing with issues created by three months without any matchday income.
All major sports are planning their next steps and, while there is a process in place for the staged return to training, the contact nature of rugby brings its own issues and at Tigers we maintain that our priority is the safety and welfare of our people; the players, staff and supporters.
This week, when we should all have been looking forward to the final home game of the Gallagher Premiership season, the stadium instead remains closed and there is no confirmation of when it will open again.
We take great pride in the levels of support for the Tigers, but having such a big supporter-base also means that we take the biggest hit when games are not played.
Six Welford Road matchdays have now been postponed and, although there is a lot of speculation around how and when rugby can resume, nothing has been confirmed.
As a supporter, you are the lifeblood of the club and your investment in Tigers means everyone plays a part. We are extremely grateful for your loyalty and commitment.
The club has now finalised plans for season ticket holders, match ticket purchasers and corporate guests to meet all possible scenarios, whether the sport resumes as normal, has to follow an amended programme, is played behind closed doors or at other venues, or if games have to be cancelled.
Our favoured option, of course, would always be to welcome you all to Welford Road to get behind the team, but safety must come first in the knowledge that at some stage we will all be together again.
Alongside the absence of matchday income, the stadium has been closed to conference and events bookings, and we have had to cancel Tigers Rugby Camps and the Tigers Challenge which both enjoy huge support. This is also the period of the year when we would normally expect to push ahead with sales of tickets, hospitality and other matchday products for next season which is particularly challenging when we are still waiting for an outcome in the current campaign.
Against this background, a number of tough decisions have already been made with the club’s long-term interests at heart.
Players and staff have faced a reduction in salary during this period and many of them have been placed on furlough using the government scheme. Also, we have already seen some of our senior colleagues leave the club and, after exploring all the options, there is a risk of staff redundancies with a consultation process under way across the business.
It is a situation none of us could have foreseen but it is one we are working through together to allow the club to come out the other side as strongly as possible.
Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time and, of course, for your continued support of the Leicester Tigers.
Peter Tom CBE, Chairman
*Hear more from Tigers and the financial implications of the lockdown in a special LTTV interview this evening (Wednesday).
*Full details of ticket proposals for the remainder of 2019/20 will be circulated on Friday via email and the club news channels.