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