Britain's future cast into doubt

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The Independent Online

The United Kingdom will host the World Cup in 2013, but there is no mention in the new international calendar of a Great Britain side. A meeting of the game's International Federation in Singapore has awarded the tournament to Britain, despite a rival bid from Australia, which hosted a successful World Cup last year.

"I thought the 2008 tournament was an outstanding success and our aim is to build on that and deliver a profitable tournament that will further enhance the international prestige of rugby league," said the RFL's executive chairman, Richard Lewis.

The last time Britain staged the World Cup was the loss-making competition in 2000. The format 13 years later is likely to be less ambitious and far-ranging. The Federation has also ratified the international blue-print for the next five years, including Four Nations tournaments in the southern hemisphere in 2010 and 2014 and in the north in 2011.

The national team will compete throughout as England, despite earlier plans for a Great Britain tour down under next year. The other possibility would have been 2012, but that autumn is being left clear for the run-up to the World Cup the following year.

Oldham have sacked their assistant coach, Mark Cass, for gross misconduct amid allegations of a betting coup. The club has been in disarray since its major shareholder, Bill Quinn, announced last week that he was putting his 75 per cent stake up for sale and withdrawing his support.

Since then, five Oldham players have followed their former coach, Steve Deakin, to Barrow, leaving them so short of personnel that their conditioner, Martin Roden, was among their substitutes at Dewsbury on Sunday.

The allegations are that bets were placed on Oldham to lose by someone with inside knowledge of the situation at the club. Dewsbury won 38-8 and the League confirmed yesterday that it is investigating a possible breach of its operational rules on betting.

Two Warrington players, Chris Bridge and Ben Harrison, have been bailed until September after being arrested in a brawl at a bar.