Rugby League: Lindsay upset at Academy exclusion

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The Independent Online
The game's ruling body is appealing to the government to reconsider its exclusion from the projected academy of sport.

The Rugby League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, has written to Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who announced over the weekend that football, cricket and rugby would not be catered for at the new centre for the pursuit of excellence.

"I'm just astonished," said Lindsay yesterday. "I find it bizarre that what are regarded as commercial sports should be considered capable of looking after themselves.

"Perhaps that case can be made for football, with its ability to attract massive finance, but it doesn't apply to us.

"We were consulted by the previous government about what we would like to see in the academy, so it never occurred to us that we would be omitted.

"I have written to Chris Smith today and asked him to look again at our situation. We have been frustrated for 102 years by a lack of funding and I really think that he has got it wrong."

In a second disappointment for the code, it now seems that a compromise between Super League and the Australian Rugby League is as far away as ever.

Super League broke off peace talks in Australia yesterday, claiming that the ARL had demanded a degree of financial and administrative control over a merged competition that is unacceptable.

St Helens' Great Britain centre, Alan Hunte, has intensified their problems by saying that he wants to leave the club.

Hunte has had one transfer request turned down but is adamant that he wants to leave while his agent claims that there is already interest from other clubs - which would not be surprising if a player of his class was to become available.

Saints' chief executive, David Howes, said, however, that the club hoped to resolve Hunte's dissatisfaction and keep him at Knowsley Road.

The Leeds captain, Gary Mercer, has decided to appeal on Thursday against a five-match ban for a high tackle. Mercer, who was summoned on video evidence, has already served one game of his suspension.

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