Tue 15 Jun 2021 22:17

Here are a few answers to some of the questions we’ve had so far...

Question: Why can’t we just stay where we are?

Answer: As many members will be aware the move to a new ground has been a goal for many years and the main driving factors for this include:

  • Current facilities are old fashioned and do not support the current and future membership’s needs across all age groups and sections both on and off the pitch
  • The continual upkeep of the club facilities is contributing to severe financial pressures for the club as a whole – it is incredibly difficult to keep the books balanced with limited off-field revenue
  • The land we are located on has been earmarked for development for a number of years and if we do not negotiate our own deal then it is likely we would be subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order which would almost certainly result in a vastly inferior financial deal for KRFC.

Question: Can you share any financial arrangements for the ground move?

Answer: There has been a huge amount of work taking place behind the scenes, the committee has reached out to specific experts both within and outside of the club membership and advice is being received by the club, in support of the right decisions being made for the club as a whole. As you can imagine some of this information is commercially sensitive, but we will commit to sharing what we can, when we can as the process unfolds. Over the coming months the club is committed to being as transparent as is possible given the obvious sensitive commercial constraints.

Question: What’s the situation with the sale of our current site?

Answer: Given the stage we’re at in negotiations, it wouldn’t be prudent to share details on the land sale price at this stage. We can say that the management committee has instructed appropriately skilled professionals to represent the club’s best interests. As it stands there has been no decision made on a proposed developer and we are still receiving proposals from reputable interested parties and these continue to be assessed by those experts operating on behalf of the committee.

Question: How much will the new ground cost?

Answer: We have submitted a ‘fully-loaded’ planning application and the land sale projections suggest that all being well, the club will be able to afford to build everything in the plans as they currently stand for circa £10m. The proposed design of the clubhouse that has been released to the membership allows for amendments whereby it could be reduced in size by losing certain elements such as the gym and the steward’s flat. This would in turn reduce the build cost, subsequently if it was felt that such elements are required at a future date then we would consider re-introducing those elements at a later date if we could afford it.

Question: Has the choice of developer already been made, or will the membership be consulted?

Answer: The developer bids were received by our Land Agents from December 2020 onwards, and not before. There have been 7 bids from various renowned developers, and these have been assessed by the management committee, alongside recommendations from our appointed Land Agents. Details of each bid will be shared with the Club membership at the Forum on 24th February 2021, and the recommended bid will be proposed to the Club membership, to be voted on at the SGM on 10th March 2021.

Question: Will there be money left over for the day-to-day running of the club?

Answer: Absolutely and this has been key to the discussions over finances and design from the start. We have seen many examples of other clubs over-stretching themselves with their ground moves and suffering the consequences further down the line. This is of course particularly pertinent given the extraordinary circumstances we have all found ourselves in this year. We would plan have a surplus of cash equivalent to a minimum 3 years running costs for the new facility, but the intention is very much to protect these funds as a back-stop ‘for a rainy day’. We want the facility to support itself and revenue from activities such as pitch and conferencing hire, private events and bar income will be critical; the sooner we get these income streams showing in the new facility, the better.

Question: We have heard that the club is talking about paying players again. Is this true?

Further to the statement made on this subject at the AGM in September, the Management Committee wish to make it clear that:

  • Discussion of rewarding players was only ever in relation to establishing the most appropriate Legal Structure for the Club. In considering CASC, it quickly became starkly apparent that becoming a CASC Club would place considerable constraints upon our ability to develop both on and off the field, would place a ‘ceiling’ on our aspirations and desire to play at the best level possible, and to generate as much income as was possible to plough back into the Club - so the decision as to our Legal Structure going forward needed to take account of this.
  • We wholeheartedly support our senior rugby section's (Men and Women) aspirations to play at the highest level possible.
  • No player has received payment to play for the club in at least the last 4 seasons, during which time we have enjoyed one the most successful periods in the Club's history (Men gaining promotion into Midlands One, winning the Midlands and National Intermediate Cups, the Warks 2nd XV Shield and 2nd XV Cup) and (Women reaching the Intermediate Cup final, 3 league promotions in 5 years, reaching National Tier 2). This has been achieved by a concerted effort to invest in quality coaching and specialist player medical care, supported by a volunteer management team that aims to deliver as 'professional' a service as possible in support of players.
  • The momentum gained from our recent success, coupled with the arrival of the new ground, will no doubt encourage our senior sides to push on. As such opportunities arise, we will review what is required to support such endeavours (financial, operational etc) and set this against the Club's ability to support as required. If, following review by the 'Senior Rugby management Group' and the Management Committee, it is considered both feasible and appropriate, and should this require the Club to reconsider the existing amateur status, then membership approval will be sought before any changes are made.
  • Within the club management, there remains sufficient first-hand experience of the highs and lows brought about by the previous period of payment of players; the latter being something we would all wish to avoid in future. Since then, the game has evolved as have the expectations of players at the levels we are considering. There may never come the need to consider rewarding player; however, this committee does not want to be responsible for curtailing the aspirations of future generations of Club players, but instead ensure suitable due diligence and consultation is undertaken before any potential change.