Rugby League: Salford move to sign Loughlin hits price snag

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Salford have hit a snag in their attempt to sign the former Great Britain centre, Paul Loughlin, from Bradford. Loughlin was due to join Salford yesterday for a nominal fee.

The Salford coach, Andy Gregory, said: "Bradford have now said that they want more money than they originally asked for. I'm disappointed, because I didn't think Bradford would be looking for a big fee after Paul had given them two years good service."

Loughlin, now aged 31 and capped 15 times, joined the Bulls from St Helens in November 1995, in part-exchange for Paul Newlove. Bradford, who have recruited the Hull centre, Tevita Vaikona, for next season, have made him available for transfer.

"He has had offers from a couple of clubs, but he wants to come to us," said Gregory, who now hopes to complete the deal, today along with one to bring the former Wigan and Oldham centre, Mike Neal, to Salford.

The clubs outside Super League are to keep a two division structure for next season. A meeting of the First and Second Division Clubs Association at Dewsbury yesterday voted to invite Leigh and Widnes to join what will be an 11 team First Division, with each side playing the others three times, leading to a top five play-off and grand final.

The remaining eight clubs will play a Second Division programme that will involve splitting into regional conferences in mid-season.

There will be two promotion and relegation places between the divisions. "That, along with the top five play-off, should make the First Division highly competitive," said Fasda's chief executive, Bob Scott. "It is important to have as strong a division as possible immediately below Super League and Leigh and Widnes both have something to offer."