Green light for Offiah

Rugby League
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The Independent Online
London Broncos have finally sorted out the complex business of signing Martin Offiah and will unveil their new acquisition this morning.

A press conference has been called at a London hotel, signalling that the Broncos, Bedford Rugby Union Club and, equally important, News Limited, with whom Offiah has a "loyalty" contract, have reached an agreement on the division of the player's time during the overlap of the two rugby seasons. A meeting between the parties yesterday broke up with smiles all round.

"The matter is now in the hands of the lawyers but with a very positive stance," Alan McColm, Offiah's agent, said.

That final tuning will allow London to go ahead with their official announcement today, with the 29-year-old winger, sold by Wigan to lighten a crippling wage bill, to make his debut against Warrington at The Valley on Sunday.

Bedford, the Courage Second Division club with whom Offiah will relaunch his union career, will make their own announcement next week.

Justin Bryant, the former London player sent off by the referee Colin Morris within four minutes of coming on at Leeds to make his debut for Paris, was cleared by the League's disciplinary committee yesterday over the alleged use of the forearm.

"The referee simply got it wrong," said the Paris coach, John Kear. "The committee has had the guts to put it right but we played for 50 minutes with 12 men. It shows what a good system it is for referees to put players on report when there is some doubt."

Bryant is now able to play against Halifax on Sunday, but Ian Russell is returning to Australia with a cracked sternum.

London's Australian captain, Terry Matterson, will make his international debut next week - for Scotland. Matterson, who qualifies through a Scottish grandfather, is one of four Australians (Matterson's team-mates Darren Shaw and Duncan McRae, and the Carlisle hooker Danny Russell are the others) who will face Ireland at Partick Thistle on Tuesday. The side will be captained by the Leeds full-back Alan Tait, who is exploring the possibilities of a return to rugby union, in which he won caps for Scotland.

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