Perpignan to restore Super League's European credentials

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The Independent Online

Union Treiziste Catalane have been voted into Super League for the 2006 season. The French club, to be known as Perpignan, will re-establish the European link which was broken when Paris St-Germain went out of the competition after its first two years.

Union Treiziste Catalane have been voted into Super League for the 2006 season. The French club, to be known as Perpignan, will re-establish the European link which was broken when Paris St-Germain went out of the competition after its first two years.

They were admitted at a Super League meeting in Warrington despite opposition from some clubs. The executive chairman of the Rugby League, Richard Lewis, said: "It's terrific news for Super League and great news for French rugby league and the international game.''

Perpignan will come into a 12-team competition, although the mechanics of how they will be admitted have yet to be decided. They will get the same share of the Sky television money as all other clubs and will be protected from relegation for their first two seasons.

"I feel great pride and pleasure for the people in Perpignan who first had this dream four years ago,'' said Steve Deakin, the Englishman who coaches UTC and is confident that they will be competitive in Super League. "If you look at our performances here in France and in England in the Challenge Cup, then we are as convincing as any of the sides which have been promoted into Super League.''.

Deakin plans to recruit seven or eight new players, both French and overseas, for the next French domestic season, followed by the same again for their entry into Super League.

The meeting also decided to leave the Super League salary cap at £1.8m rather than the £1.5m which some smaller clubs were advocating. It will stay at that level for the next four years.

Huddersfield have signed the Canberra centre, James Evans, who could go straight into their side to play Wakefield on Sunday. Evans, who has Welsh grandparents and a British passport, does not need a work permit or count on the club's overseas quota.

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