Crusaders withdraw from Super League

Welsh club Crusaders have dramatically withdrawn from Super League from next year.

The Wrexham-based outfit had widely been expected to be awarded one of the 13 remaining licences to compete in the elite competition for the 2012-14 period this morning.

The surprise decision to pull out means a reprieve for Wakefield, who had widely been expected to miss out on a place in the 14-team division.

Championship side Halifax failed in their application for a licence, meaning the other 12 current Super League clubs will join Wakefield and Widnes in Super League next year.

The Rugby Football League only made their decision as to the make-up of Super League yesterday.

Chairman Richard Lewis admitted he was not shocked by Crusaders' decision, which will end a tumultuous three-year stay in Super League.

Lewis said: "There was bound to be a lot of speculation beforehand and it was important we kept the process confidential. It was a secret for virtually every club up until we made the announcement.

"The Crusaders situation had been part of the licensing process for many months.

"It came as no surprise over the last week that things were coming to a head.

"The final decision from Crusaders came yesterday and the RFL made its decision yesterday."

Crusaders, originally based in Bridgend, were admitted to Super League in 2009 after making rapid progress in the Championship competitions.

Yet after just one season they were forced to move to north Wales due to financial problems.

Uncertainty over their future continued and they were later deducted four points for the current season after falling into administration.

There had also been further controversy when it emerged several overseas players had been playing for them before their elevation to Super League without the required visas.

Despite that, the RFL's commitment to expansion was thought likely to earn them a prolonged stay in Super League ahead of Wakefield, who were also in administration and have failed to meet minimum stadium criteria.

Crusaders had even started recruited for 2012, signing former Great Britain centre Keith Senior from Leeds and tying Wales rugby union legend Gareth Thomas to a new contract.

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 Wales, 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."

The RFL now hope Crusaders will be able to continue as a club in the Championship next season.

Lewis added: "They need to take stock of their situation but I think there is a reasonable chance they will play in the Championship.

"It would be good if they did. It would be great for Wrexham and north Wales.

"The people there have responded well to rugby league being played in north Wales and I am sure they will give it a long, hard look."

For clubs such as Wakefield there were stern words that the RFL could revoke licences if promises are not kept.

Wakefield were one of four clubs awarded C grade licences along with Castleford, Harlequins and Salford.

Lewis said: "The revocation of licences is very much about keeping pressure on the clubs.

"The clubs will have promises in their licence applications they will need to fulfil.

"There is an opportunity for licences to be lost if clubs are reneging on their promises."


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine