Wales Rugby League have welcomed North Wales Crusaders as they were accepted into Co-operative Championship 1 officially today.
“I’m delighted to hear that North Wales Crusaders have been officially accepted,” said Wales Rugby League’s General Manager Mark Rowley. “The growth of Rugby League all around Wales is fantastic for the sport and I look forward to Welsh derbies against South Wales Scorpions. All the best of luck to them.”
North Wales Crusaders are celebrating after being admitted to the play in the Cooperative Championship 1 division next season, bringing a successful outcome to the four-month campaign to preserve professional Rugby League in the region.
A consortium of local businesses and supporters tabled a bid for a new club after demise of the Super League team in July, when the owners withdrew their application and financial support.
The campaign saw over 5,000 fans register their support through the ‘SavetheCru’ initiative, along with three hundred local businesses.
The Board of the new club will be made up of prominent local solicitors, accountants and businessmen – along with representatives of the Crusaders Supporters Club.
Speaking about the decision, acting Chief Executive Jamie Thomas said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have managed to rescue the club from the brink of extinction and it’s a testament to the fans for the unwavering supporting throughout what has been a really tough time.
“So much hard work has been put in to develop the game in the community it would have been a travesty if all of that had gone to waste. North Wales has embraced Rugby League and the fans have really taken it to their hearts. This is the dawn of a real solid future for the game in the region.”
North Wales Crusaders are also delighted to announce they have secured a deal to keep the club in Wrexham, playing at the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium.
Thomas said “Clearly it’s a fantastic facility that has been home to some really exciting matches over the last couple of years and long may that continue. We are delighted to have reached a fantastic agreement with the University and look forward to working with them long into the future.”
Doctor Allan Howells, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, said: “This is excellent news for Wrexham. Rugby League has really taken off in the town. When we took over ownership of the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium, we were passionate and confidence of it remaining as home of Crusaders as well as Wrexham FC. This Sunday’s Wales v Australia international will be another fantastic opportunity to showcase the stadium as a venue for Rugby League and strong ticket sales we’ve seen for the march show a real appetite for the sport locally. We’re delighted that fans of the sport in Wrexham and beyond will be able to continue coming to the stadium and following Crusaders here.”
Chris Jones, Chairman of Crusaders Supporters Club said: We’re absolutely over the moon. At one stage the future was looking really doubtful, and to have come from a massive low of dropping out of Super League to the high of saving professional Rugby League in North Wales from extinction, is brilliant news.”
“It is with great pleasure that we can confirm that North Wales Crusaders have met all the criteria required to become full members of the RFL,” said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.
“The timing of this development could not be more succinct, coming as it does just two days before Wales play Australia in the 2011 Gillette Four Nations at Wrexham.
“On behalf of everyone at the RFL I would like to extend a warm welcome to Jamie Thomas and all the people involved in North Wales Crusaders who have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to put together a strong submission.
“The hard work hasn’t ended: in many ways it has just begun. As with all our member clubs, the RFL will provide all the practical assistance it can to make sure North Wales Crusaders are ready come the start of next season.”
North Wales Crusaders will not participate in the 2012 Northern Rail Cup but will enter the 10-team Co-operative Championship One when it kicks off on the weekend of March 17-18, 2012. The club will also compete in the Carnegie Challenge Cup next season.