Rugby League: Court to set Sailor sum

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THE AUSTRALIAN Test winger Wendell Sailor is facing a High Court damages award after reneging on a deal to play for Wigan.

The former Brisbane Bronco, now playing rugby union for Leeds Tykes, signed a two-year deal with Wigan 12 months ago but then changed his mind after his return to Australia. Wigan took the case to court and Sailor failed to contest the action, claiming he knew nothing of the move.

The High Court will now be asked to decide on the amount of damages. Wigan are seeking in excess of pounds 30,000.

The Wigan chairman, Peter Norbury, said: "There will have to be a hearing to determine the amount. I expect that to take place in Manchester in the next few weeks."

Sailor, who was hoping to settle out of court, could be back home in Brisbane by the time of the hearing. He will play his final home game for Leeds in Sunday's Allied Dunbar Premiership Two fixture with Fylde and is expected to complete his three-month stint in the Tetley's Bitter Cup fifth round tie at Leicester on 30 January.

Wigan had threatened to take out an injunction to prevent Sailor turning out against them for Leeds Rhinos in the Grand Final last October but, in the event, he was not selected.

The car manufacturers Ford were yesterday revealed as sponsors of the First Division for the 1999 season. The agreement, with Ford's northern dealers in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and the north-west, is thought to be worth close to pounds 100,000. Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Rugby Football League, said it was an indication of the sport's increasing profile.