Rochdale set time limit for League

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The Independent Online
Rochdale Hornets have set a deadline of five o'clock this afternoon for the Rugby League to reply to the club's complaints about being excluded from a meeting of prospective Super League chairmen last week. If they are not satisfied, Rochdale, who have the backing of other Second Division clubs, will seek an injunction against the domestic game's ruling body.

"We still haven't had sight of News Ltd's proposals," Rochdale's company secretary, Paul Reynolds, said. News Ltd is the Rupert Murdoch company setting up the Super League.

Rochdale are well aware that the League's initial response to their complaint will be that they voted for the Super League plan almost two weeks ago.

"Our club had no prior notice of that meeting; our chairman was not mandated and there was no opportunity to consult our shareholders," Reynolds said.

Reynolds said that his legal advice was that the Super League vote was unconstitutional. "Unless we get a satisfactory reply, we will be asking a judge in chambers to issue an injunction that will prevent any more announcements about the Super League," he added.

Keighley Cougars, denied a place in the top flight despite being poised to win the Second Division title this weekend, will launch their legal battle against the League on Monday.

On another front, Labour MPs are stepping up the assault on Murdoch's takeover of the game. Already pressing for a Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation and planning a debate on Wednesday, they are also asking the Independent Television Commission to step in.

The League now wants to meet the All-Party Rugby League Group next week to try to dissuade them from trying to block the agreement. "It is essential that the deal goes ahead to secure the future of rugby league in Britain," the League's chairman, Rodney Walker, said.

One body to swing in favour of the plan is the Rugby League Professional Players' Association. After talks with the League, the RLPPA now believes that most of its members will be in favour of the Super League, which "will bring many positive benefits to many of the players," according to its secretary, Bill Chard.