Rugby League: Relief for Oldham players

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Oldham players should be free to find new clubs from tomorrow, according to the players' union which is representing them.

Nick Grimoldby, the chairman of the Rugby League Players' Association, said that the players - who are owed two months' wages - should receive their P45s tomorrow.

"Our understanding is that they should then be free agents and able to sign for other clubs," said Grimoldby. "The League wants to hold their registrations, but if they do not release them to rugby league clubs then the players will have no choice but to accept offers to play rugby union.

"They have no money to pay their mortgages and there is no money for return tickets for players from Australia and New Zealand."

The League is still waiting to hear from the Australian Rugby League over its last-ditch appeal to have Gary Connolly and Jason Robinson, who are both under contract to the ARL, released for the Test series against Australia next month.

The League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, said that there had been "delicate negotiations" which were not conditional on the ARL and Super League reaching a compromise.

The New Zealand referee, Phil Houston, has been put in charge of the three-match series.

The Student Rugby League has attracted sponsorship from Hogshead Ale Houses for league and cup competitions involving 70 institutions over the new season. The deal will also cover the first playing of a women's championship.