Rugby League : Cougars admit defeat and join new structure

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Rugby League

Keighley Cougars have abandoned their lone fight against the Super League by signing up for the new Rupert Murdoch-backed three-division structure that kicks off next March, writes Dave Hadfield.

Keighley, who would, under normal circumstances, have been promoted as Second Division champions this year, had been arguing for a larger share of the pounds 87m News Corporation are putting into the game. After their arguments were rejected by an AGM of clubs at Wigan yesterday, Keighley became the last club to sign up.

The meeting of the Council that followed the AGM opened discussions on matters such as the overseas quota, a projected salary cap and the appointment of a new England coach, all of which need to be resolved before the start of the last, transitional winter season in August.

The is to have its first female president during its forthcoming centenary year. Kath Hetherington, of Sheffield Eagles, became the first female member of the Council 11 years ago and has been on the Eagles board for the last nine.

"I couldn't have taken over at a more exciting time and I believe our game is set to take off," she said. "Besides the Super League, we have the prospect of summer rugby."