Rugby League: Leicester City FC keen to stage league

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The Independent Online
Rugby League administrators are considering audacious plans to take the 13-a-side code into the union territory of Leicester Tigers.

Leicester City, the Premiership football team, are keen to stage rugby league at Filbert Street, only a short distance from Tigers' Welford Road home.

Sir Rodney Walker, the Rugby Football League chairman who is also chairman of the public company that owns the football club, would like to take a Super League fixture to Filbert Street to test the waters.

"The people at Leicester City have indicated to me that, if the opportunity arose, they are serious about staging rugby league,"Sir Rodney said. "It would be premature to contemplate them applying for a Super League franchise but, if two teams were interested in taking a fixture to Leicester, it could be used as a means of establishing the level of interest.''

The Midlands is among the targets for Super League expansion, with bids for 1999 Super League franchises due to be considered next May.

Angry officials of the new Oldham club are to seek legal advice after being told they will not be included in this season's Challenge Cup. The decision to omit Oldham, who were Cup winners as far back as 1899, from the game's best-known knock-out competition was taken by League officials after the old club went into liquidation and before the launch of the new club.

"Decisions had to be taken in early November when Oldham weren't in existence," an RFL spokesman, Peter Rowe, said.

The Oldham chairman, Christopher, Hamilton, who claimed he was told by a reporter on Sunday night that his club would not be the Cup, said: "We will be seeking advice. There has been a total lack of communication at the RFL since we first submitted our business plan."

The other 18 First and Second Division clubs join 22 amateur survivors from this weekend's second-round ties in the third round on 31 January. The 12 Super League teams join at the fourth round on 14 February.

A winding-up petition against Batley was lodged in the High Court yesterday by the former chairman Trevor Hobson, who claims he is owed pounds 85,000.