Rugby League: Clubs warned over Premier League

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THE war of words over the plans for an elite Premier League has warmed up, with the game's board of directors warning that it would be 'potentially ruinous' to turn back at this stage, writes Dave Hadfield.

Second Division clubs are rallying against the proposals, including the one that would abolish their pay-out from a levy on gates, and Swinton's chairman, Malcolm White, predicts that the plans will be voted down on 5 October.

But the League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, says that the inevitability to phasing out the levy has already been accepted by clubs.

'I am surprised that Second Division clubs now claim to be firmly against something they voted for not 12 months ago,' he said.

And the League's chairman, Rodney Walker, said: 'The board was given a unanimous mandate to make these proposals for change.

'It would be potentially ruinous to rugby league's ability to compete in the professional sporting marketplace for us now to make an about turn.'

Powerful clubs like Wigan and Leeds have warned of a breakaway if the proposals do not go through next month's meeting.

St Helens have given up their attempts to sign the Queensland forward, Gavin Allen, on a short-term contract. Saints have been told by Allen's agent that his Australian club, the Brisbane Broncos, want him to join their London offshoot instead. Saints have also turned down the chance to sign Bradley Clyde on a two-month deal after this autumn's Australian tour.

The Castleford captain, Lee Crooks, is expected to recover from a rib injury in time to face Wigan on Friday night, but Jonathan Davies is likely to miss Warrington's game at Doncaster on Sunday with a hamstring strain.

Oldham have offered the New Zealander, Joe Faimalo, a 12- month contract after an impessive debut last Sunday.