Rugby League: Administration clubs facing closure as funding is halted

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The Independent Online
The futures of Keighley, Hull Kingston Rovers and Workington Town are in the balance as the League gets tough with clubs which have gone into administration. All three clubs face having their funding cut off, something which would almost certainly close them down.

Keighley, who have been in administration for 15 months, have been told that they will receive their allocation from News Ltd for the remaining two months of this year, but will be subject to a pay freeze for 1998.

Workington and Hull KR, both in administration for over a year, are having their cases considered, but the administrator running both clubs has warned that stopping their share-out will close them.

The League has said it will no longer bail out clubs which, in effect, go broke. All three on the current casualty list were interviewed by its board of directors yesterday.

With Paris suspended for next season, Carlisle absorbed by Barrow and Prescot and Doncaster far from certain to start the new campaign, the League has already shrunk. But uncertainty over how many clubs will be involved has delayed any decision on how the competition will be structured next season, although a return to two divisions looks likely.

Wigan, who have rejected an approach by St Helens for Gary Connolly, have given their full-back, Doc Murray, a lifeline. Murray, on loan to Warrington, was due to be cut from the Wigan's playing staff, along with last season's two other signings from New Zealand, Stuart Lester and Paul Koloi, but is being kept on because he does not need a work permit.