Rugby League

RFL expects 18 clubs to bid for Super League status

The Rugby Football League has stated that it expects as many as 18 clubs to apply for up to 14 three-year Super League licences as it looks at expanding the sport’s top flight.

The new franchise system is set to be introduced in 2009 with clubs given until the end of January to make applications.

The existing Super League clubs will take up 12 of the available licences while Toulouse and Celtic Crusaders have already been confirmed as definite bidders for the remaining two.

St Helens rename Knowsley Road

Knowsley Road, the long-term home of rugby league side St Helens, has been renamed The GPW Recruitment Stadium after the club signed a lucrative sponsorship deal.

The stadium, which has been the club's home since 1890, will now be known as The GPW Recruitment Stadium until the end of the 2010 season.

St Helens have submitted plans to build an 18,000-capacity stadium on a derelict 46-acre site on the edge of the town centre to the local council.

Hogg takes the reins at Harlequins

Harlequins rugby league club has named Keith Hogg as their new chairman following the departure of previous owner Ian Lenagan who completed a takeover of rival franchise Wigan Warriors last week.

Hogg, who was formerly a director at London Broncos, will be assisted by Paul Brown, the chairman of Rugby League Conference side South London Storm, who takes over as chief executive.

Lenagan stepped down at the London club last week after completing his takeover of the Warriors from JJB Sports retailer Dave Whelan.

Whelan sells Wigan to Harlequins owner

Wigan Warriors rugby league club owner Dave Whelan has followed through with his decision to sell the club, agreeing a deal with Ian Lenagan, chairman of rival team Harlequins, for 89% of the stakeholding.

As a result of the deal which takes effect on 1st December, the sport’s governing body the Rugby Football League has given Lenagan two years to find a buyer for his 65% stake in Harlequins, although the latter has insisted he will not sell unless he was convinced the club was in safe hands.

2008 Super League season brought forward

The start of the 2008 Super League season has been brought forward in the calendar due to the scheduling of the Rugby League World Cup.

Super League XIII will now start on 3rd February, with the Grand Final taking place at Old Trafford on 4th October.

The move is designed to give the England team three full weeks to prepare ahead of the World Cup in Australia.

As was the case last season, a full round of Super League games will be staged again in Cardiff over the weekend of 3rd-4th May.

Castleford Tigers drop RFL legal action

Rugby league club Castleford Tigers have dropped their proposed legal case against the Rugby Football League in the wake of the punishment handed out to rivals Wigan for breaching the Super League salary cap system last season.

Although the breach happened last season, the RFL only decided to dock Wigan four points this year. Had the punishment been meted out last year it would have seen Wigan relegated from the top flight instead of Castleford.

Wigan set for sale after Lindsay quits

Maurice Lindsay, the long-standing chairman of rugby league club Wigan, has announced his intention to retire – a move that could also signal a change of ownership for the club.

The 66-year old Lindsay, who is in his second spell has Wigan chairman, offered to leave with immediate effect, but had been asked to stay on until the end of the season by owner Dave Whelan.

Castleford eyes legal move over salary row

Rugby league side Castleford Tigers are considering going to the courts after rival Super League club Wigan were deducted four points for breaching the salary cap.

Castleford, who were relegated from the Super League after finishing three points behind Wigan last season, believe that governing body the RFL should have acted more quickly in docking the points thus consigning Wigan to relegation in place of Castleford.

Castleford chief executive Richard Wright says his club feel 'cheated' and criticised the RFL for not acting more promptly.

Super League clubs break salary cap rules

Three leading Super League clubs have been charged with a breach of the rugby league top-flight’s salary cap structure and will face independent hearings to decide their fate.

St Helens, Bradford and Wigan have all been charged with failing to adhere to salary cap regulations with the first two clubs appearing in front of an independent tribunal on 12th July, and the hearing for Wigan taking place on 16th July.

Clubs are permitted to spend no more than 50% of their income, up to a maximum of £1.7m, on players' wages.

IMG Media wins Rugby League World Cup deal

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has appointed IMG Media to act as exclusive sales agents for the international TV rights to the Rugby League World Cup 2008.

The 18-match tournament will take place in multiple locations across Australia from 25th October 2008, finishing at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on 22nd November.

Ten nations will vie for the trophy, including Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga who have already qualified.

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