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EXCLUSIVE: Irate Yorkshire Carnegie players demand chairman exit

Yorkshire Carnegie

YORKSHIRE Carnegie players called on chairman Dave Dockray to step down from his role at a highly-charged meeting last week.

Carnegie’s squad accused Dockray and the board of mismanagement after they were advised to look for another club following the collapse of next season’s funding.

The Rugby Paper understands that next season Carnegie’s rugby budget will be £1.3m, around two million less than the figure touted at the start of the season when there was talk of making a push for the Premiership.

As a further sign of intent, £215,000 was raised in the autumn by way of subscribing additional shares and the money was used to bolster the wafer-thin squad. Several recruits arrived from New Zealand and the club’s fortunes, on the field at least, turned for the better.

Since then, though, the well has ran dry with majority shareholder Jon Wright rumoured to have backed away.

While not the lowest budget in the league, it is thought that player, coach and staff wages, plus standard operational costs such as travel and accommodation, will have to come out of the pot. It is unclear whether rent to play at Headingley is included. With seven players believed to be contracted for next season, recruiting a squad worthy of the club’s standing will be extremely challenging under such financial constraints.

Carnegie’s troubled board will update shareholders on the situation when they next meet on, of all days, April 1.

Unless investors can be found at the eleventh hour, which seems unlikely given the fruitless search so far, semi-professional rugby is a very real prospect at Headingley – if they can afford to stay there.

In June, directors can call back loans’ worth over £1m. If that happened, administration would seem inevitable.

Yorkshire Carnegie was acquired by Yorkshire Tykes Ltd in January 2015, but the new ownership, albeit with many of the same people involved, has endured a difficult time as custodians of a club on the brink.

According to the latest set of accounts published by Companies House, the company had accumulated debts of £2.7m by June 2017 with another £1.7m deficit forecast for 2017/18.

JON NEWCOMBE / Photo: Simon Hall

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