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EXCLUSIVE: Hudgell to stand down from Hull KR

The club’s players are being informed of the news today. Hull KR owner Neil Hudgell will leave the Super League club at the end of this year. Forty20 News can exclusively reveal Hudgell, who took …

The club’s players are being informed of the news today.

Hull KR owner Neil Hudgell will leave the Super League club at the end of this year.

Forty20 News can exclusively reveal Hudgell, who took over as chairman of the Robins in 2004, will walk away from the club in December.

It is believed he has become disillusioned with the sport and has decided to depart.

According to sources, the chairman tips more than £1 million into the club every year.

A successful businessman, Hudgell runs his own national law firm with offices in London, Leeds, Manchester and Hull.

The club has since issued a statement confirming Hudgell’s departure.

The departing ownerl said: “Lockdown has given me a chance to reflect on the sport, the club and my personal situation.

“Hull Kingston Rovers has been an all-consuming journey for me for the last 16 years and I have decided that now is the right time for change

“Coming back to play brings with it a return of the same old stresses and anxieties. The weight of expectation for a club of our size and support base is enormous and needs more than I feel I am now able to give.

“With all that in mind, I do not believe I can do justice to it any longer, which would be letting down the magnificent support base of our great club.

“Therefore, I will be relinquishing my position as Chairman of the club with effect from 1st December 2020.

“It has been a very difficult decision, especially as I came into it as a lifelong fan, but one I feel is in the best long-term interests of the club.

“Any incumbent would be taking over a club with a significant level of liquidity, as well as Super League status preserved.

“I am looking to hand over the club in a better place than where I found it.

“The opportunity to buy Hull College Craven Park and the surrounding land also remain as explorable options.

“It has been an honour to lead Hull Kingston Rovers for such a long time and I have so many people to thank and praise for their help and support throughout the journey.

“But it’s time for me to sit it out for a while and more importantly, time for someone else to come in and elevate our great club to where I have not quite managed to take it.”

On July 1 Hudgell wrote an open letter to Hull KR fans stating that the club was “at a critical point in its history”.

“With so many current uncertainties we remain in a precarious position.

“Financial forecasts show that even with Government support, wage reductions, grants, and furlough payments we stand to be behind forecasts to the tune of £500,000 in 2020. Before we factor in loan support and other reductions, in 2021, our estimated shortfall is approaching £2 million.

“As you will see, therefore, there is a need, across the board, for prudence of an unprecedented level relating to all aspects of the Club from first team, youth development to support staff and stadium investment.

“Of all of those the one that I would want to protect the most is youth development as that is where the long-term focus of the Club’s strategy rests.

“In previous years, the Club has been supported by myself, and other Directors, to the tune of £500,000 and more through loans and sponsorship. Revenues in my various businesses are compromised and that position continuing is not an option.

“Whilst it was something we were hoping to resist, we are going to have to make use of the Government loan. It will be needed, in part, to cashflow us until the end of this year and to absorb a significant part of the shortfall in 2021.

“There is uncertainty around the terms of repayment of that loan, but it can be assumed that there will be a considerable number of years over which we will continue to bear the effects of this current crisis.

“I am not comfortable straddling the club with long term debt (it currently owes little other than to me and my companies) but there is not a choice I am afraid.”

Hull KR and Hudgell have been approached for comment.

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