Cost-cutting axe will fall on HQ staff

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The Independent Online

Five members of staff at the Rugby League's headquarters at Red Hall, Leeds are to become the first victims of a cost-cutting purge. The League was not prepared to name the employees yesterday, for legal reasons, but it is understood that they are not senior figures.

Uncertainty has hovered over the League's HQ since the arrival of a five-man group charged with carrying out the recommendations of a wide-ranging policy review. The RFL is thought to be £1.7m in debt and considerable restructuring will also be called for if it is to merge with Super League.

Already, two executive directors, Dave Callaghan and Peter Webster, have left of their own volition and a third, the director of rugby, Greg McCallum, is considering an alternative position within the organisation.

Meanwhile, the League is advertising for an executive chairman to give the game the leadership it has so lacked over the last two years.

*Salford have signed Tim Hartley, a 16-year-old utility back, who has been playing for Leigh Miners Rangers, and the club has received a major boost with the news that Warren Jowitt, out for eight months with a shoulder injury, expects be fit to face Warrington at Wilderspool next Friday. Alan Hunte, the former St Helens and Warrington back, will make his debut in the friendly.