Sponsor deal runs off track

The professional game outside Super League is likely to have to look for a new sponsor for one of its main competitions after this season.

Arriva Trains, which backs one knock-out competition, has lost the franchise to run services in the north of England. Its sponsorship deal is due to continue until next August, but it is now unlikely to be renewed after that.

That is an additional worry for clubs in National Leagues One and Two, who are already struggling for income with the general demise of transfer fees and the uncertainty over what, if anything, they will get from the new Sky television deal. The franchise decision could also be a blow for leading amateur clubs, because Arriva also sponsors the National Conference.

The Sydney Roosters are threatening to take the game in Australia to court over the salary cap, which is causing even more dissension there than it is in Britain. The Roosters have threatened to go to court if the spending limit on wages is not raised

"The attitude that they are adopting is very selfish and very arrogant," Cronulla's general manager, Steve Rogers, said. "We'll have three or four like you've got in England who are the only competitive sides. Everyone else will just make up the numbers."

In Britain, Bradford are threatening to take action if the salary cap is reduced, as the majority of Super League clubs want.

Three new signings, Paul Newlove, Ryan Sheridan and Ryan Clayton, will make their debuts for Castleford in their Boxing Day derby away to Leeds, but not the injured Sean Rudder.

Hull's directors are to fly to Torremolinos next month to open talks with Shaun McRae about extending his contract as director or rugby. McRae will be there with his players for pre-season training.

The Wigan chairman, Maurice Lindsay, says that Adrian Lam will not be offered a new contract until he can show that he has recovered from a serious knee injury.

The club's Test prop, Terry O'Connor, is to have a testimonial match against the London Broncos on 8 February.

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