Crusaders withdraw Super League application

The Board of Directors at Crusaders have today confirmed that the club has not sought to renew its Super League licence for the seasons 2012 to 2014.

It is with regret that Crusaders have had to withdraw their application to the Rugby Football League for a three-year extension to their licence.

The club’s directors will now meet with Rugby Football League officials to discuss the future of rugby league in Wrexham and North Wales following the end of this season.

Crusaders Chief Executive, Rod Findlay, said: “This has not been an easy decision but after a lengthy and exhaustive examination of the club’s finances, our view is that Crusaders is not sustainable as a Super League club at this stage. Every other aspect of the application was strong and we now need to work to ensure that we retain those elements, particularly the community and player pathway programmes in North Walesd, an area where no rugby league was played two years ago.

“A lot of people have done a lot of work to get us to where we are now but it has become clear that we cannot continue in our current guise and so a decision was taken to withdraw our licence application.

“It would not have been fair to the players, the supporters, the other clubs or the engage Super League competition for us to proceed with our application. I would like to congratulate those clubs who were successful in their applications.

“In many ways the licensing process helped us realise that the club was not viable in Super League at this stage and I would like to place on record the club’s thanks to the Rugby Football League for the practical support they have given us in the last few years. I would also like to thank the club owners for their support over the last two seasons.

“We will now sit down with the Rugby Football League to consider our options for 2012 and beyond. In the meantime we remain committed to finishing the current season on a high and I am sure Iestyn Harris, his coaching staff and the players will do all they can to move us up the tables. I would like to thank Iestyn and his team, the players, the fans and the off field staff for their massive contribution to the Crusaders and I hope we can end the season in style.”

Wales Rugby League’s reaction to today’s news on the Crusaders…

“We are shocked and disappointed at today’s news, in particular our concerns are with the players and staff whose livelihoods are threatened, and the growing fan base who have become enthused by the sport.

“We have had assurances from the RFL that they are still committed to their long term strategy to expand the sport, especially in a period which will see Wales competing in the 2011 4 Nations tournament and the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which Wales will be jointly hosting.

“We would like to emphasise that Wales Rugby League is an independent organisation who are committed to the long term growth of the sport in Wales, and our programmes to grow and develop the sport are ongoing.”