Rugby League: League orders Hunslet to upgrade stadium

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The Independent Online
HUNSLET, THE winners of the Northern Ford Premiership, have been given until 9 October to show that they will have a home of Super League standard at which to play next season.

Hunslet won the right to apply for membership when they beat Dewsbury 12-11 on Saturday, but their South Leeds Stadium only holds 2,500 spectators, as opposed to the Super League criterion of 10,000.

Talks between the club and Leeds City Council resumed yesterday, but the pounds 3m estimated cost of the work to upgrade the ground is expected to be a sticking point.

Alternatively, Hunslet could demonstrate that they have another ground to play on, with Leeds' and Featherstone's stadia already mentioned.

The Rugby League has been encouraged by the viewing figures for the NFP Grand Final when it was shown on Yorkshire and Granada television on the following day. An audience of 293,000 represented 10 per cent of those watching at the time - which, according to Neil Tunnicliffe, the League's chief executive, there is a demand for the game on terrestrial television.

The Leeds coach, Graham Murray, has been fined pounds 100 for criticising the referee Stuart Cummings after his side's elimination from the Super League play-offs on Friday. Murray still faces a possible charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

Salford, who have signed Graham Holroyd and Nick Pinkney from Halifax as the start of their rebuilding for next season, have released two of their Australians. Bobby Thompson and Paul Carige are leaving, but Darren Brown and Hudson Smith have signed new contracts. Another Smith - South Sydney's prop or second-row, James - is also on his way, but there are doubts over Garen Casey's new work permit after his limited number of appearances last season.

Casey has been linked with a return to his former club, Wakefield, whose chief executive, Steve Ferres, has resigned.