RUGBY LEAGUE: Halifax to sponsor World Cup

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The Independent Online
The danger of the code's Centenary World Cup this autumn going ahead without a main sponsor has been averted with a little extra help from the country's biggest building society.

The Halifax has become the principal backer of the biggest-ever gathering of league-playing nations. The amount they are putting into the pot was left in doubt yesterday because of what their chief executive, Mike Blackburn, called "commercial confidentiality", but the sum the League feared it had lost when the Halifax had second thoughts a couple of weeks ago amid a badly-timed welter of bad publicity was £600,000.

The competition will now be known as the Halifax Rugby League Centenary World Cup, and one of the likely effects of their involvement will be the adding of Ireland and Scotland to the supplementary World Cup for emerging nations.

Ironically, the Halifax's involvement comes as the town's club talks about the possibility of moving out to share a ground with Bradford Northern or Huddersfield. Halifax are disappointed over the collapse of plans to redevelop Thrum Hall.

Leeds' luck with injuries seems to have run out. Injuries to Garry Schofield and Graham Holroyd, plus the absence of Patrick Entat with the French squad, mean that two forwards, George Mann and Marcus Vassilakopoulos, are a possible half-back pairing at Salford tonight.

The match will be the first in which the referee will be able to place a player on report if he suspects, but is not sure, that he has been guilty of foul play.

Widnes will not, after all, have to play at Featherstone on Sunday, as they are now reckoned to have four players on international duty.