Dear Loyal Fans and Sponsors of our beloved Club.

We have all faced an incredibly difficult year which will have no doubt impacted on us all, in many different ways. During this period many of our Famileigh have sadly lost their lives, some to Covid 19 and others to different sets of circumstances. As most of you will know I have suffered my own personal loss of my father and his mother, my grandma whom we will lay to rest tomorrow (Tuesday 4th August). My heartfelt condolences go out to all those who have lost loved ones in this period.

Whilst I had wanted to wait until after tomorrow to face this, with the full support of the Operational Board and after a meeting with John and Neil I realised time constraints meant I needed to do this now. I am sure you will all understand my absence over this period, as a result of my own circumstances. I had been fighting very hard to get the Championship up and running until my loss but in the end was unable to succeed.

I wrote to the RFL with many permutations, some of which were leaked into the public domain. Eventually, I made a statement via a journalist of what I felt would be made by the RFL which turned out to be not far from the mark. Whilst I didn’t watch the games yesterday, I am sure that everyone is really pleased to see a return of our great sport, if only to our screens at this time. I also wrote to the RFL to take the place of Toronto to complete this season and then return to the Championship. I also offered Toronto our players in order they could complete the season, an offer that wasn’t even acknowledged or declined. I will reserve my comments on the whole circumstances at this point as I have always reserved the Club’s rights in full from a legal perspective upon which I will take advice when I feel in the correct place personally to do so.

Given the season has been cancelled, with an alternative competition proposed, I need to make a decision on behalf of the Club on whether it is to take part. More importantly, some of our players have been approached by other clubs and I need to make decisions on them. Given the turmoil there are also a number of players being offered to me that I need to make decisions on.

In order for me to do this, I need to know the position of our season ticket holders and sponsors. At the beginning of the lockdown I took the decision to pay all staff and players their full contract value. It was always advised, and I believe intended, we would resume a full season in June. This was then put back to July. It was my opinion that when the players returned to the season they would be playing more frequently, so would ultimately be fulfilling their contracts, so we should continue to uphold it from our end. This I did until the end of June and also topped up two loan players’ salaries from what their parent clubs had deducted.

Indeed we were the last club to negotiate our players accepting 80percent of their salaries which, I should add here, I am grateful for their willingness to accept this for July onwards until we return to play, as contractually they could have refused. I should also point out that the Job Retention Scheme provides 80percent up to a maximum of £2,500 per month which doesn’t cover 80percent of many of the squad we had assembled. We therefore continue to pay out significantly more than we receive and the sponsors and season ticket income continues to drain down.

Should we compete in the proposed competition it will mean forgoing the furlough for September and October and incurring significant operational costs for a competition that does not provide promotion and a prize fund that doesn’t meet those costs. Therefore in order for me to make a decision on whether to enter the competition, (which I believe should not be optional as if you’re able to work you shouldn’t be able to furlough) and more significantly enable John to make the signings of existing and new players where required, I need to know the position of fans and sponsors that would seek a refund. I have always said that ultimately as owner and as an operational board we are simply custodians of the Club. The people of the town own the Club and ultimately here get to somewhat decide the path of its future.

I have therefore set up an email address refundrequest@leighrl.co.uk where any season ticket holder or sponsor may register their interest in a pro rata refund on monies paid which may also be dealt with by a credit note to the following season. Once I am aware of the impact of this, I can review the situation and make a further announcement on the position of the Club.

Given time is of the essence I have to place an end time of 5pm Friday 7th August 2020. To register your interest in a refund or future credit please supply to the email your full name and address, your season ticket number and the amount of your initial purchase by the date and time specified. You do not need to email to give your support that you do not require a refund.

Given our season ticket holders are deemed to be our most loyal fans I would hope that we can all equally share the burden of the situation that nobody could have foreseen. If this is the case then you have my word I will ensure that there is a very strong team put together for next season to make a very serious claim for a place in Super League and who knows that dream of a magical return to Wembley in 2021. If not, then we will deal with the circumstances openly and honestly and update everyone throughout.

Once again thank you for your valued support. Wishing you all continued health and looking forward to one day being able to return to normality in more ways than one.

Best wishes

Derek