Rugby League: Smart money on Lindsay's exit

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The Independent Online
THE ODDS have shortened dramatically on Maurice Lindsay announcing in the new year that he is leaving the game. The 57-year-old managing director of Super League, currently on holiday, is expected to confirm that he will be leaving his job after completing his two-year contract in September.

That has looked the likely outcome ever since it was revealed 10 days ago that Lindsay had paid over pounds 200,000 for a number of bookmaking stands at various race courses. He will now pursue his first sporting love, to the exclusion of the game in which he has been such a controversial figure for two decades.

Lindsay was the dominant figure behind Wigan's rise to pre-eminence in the British game in the 1980s, but he found the task of running the whole sport, as chief executive of the Rugby League, much more intractable.

Lindsay was effectively removed from that position by the League's chairman, Sir Rodney Walker, last year, but moved straight into a parallel role at Super League. His record there has been mixed, but he completed a major item of unfinished business when Sky TV extended their contract to cover games until 2003 earlier this year.

Lindsay has made little secret of his continuing passion for horse racing. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the chairmanship of the Tote before he took the Super League job and has been reluctant to give up his bookmaking interests.

Super League has several months to find a successor. One obvious candidate is Ian Robson, the former chief executive of the Australian Rules side Sydney Swans and the Auckland Warriors, who was brought in by Lindsay to fill a similar role with Super League. Leeds' chief executive, Gary Hetherington, would also be a strong contender if he wanted the job.

Huddersfield, spreading their net wide under their new coach, Malcolm Reilly, have completed their overseas quota by signing the former Cronulla forward, David Boughton, from Adelaide. Boughton, who was also wanted by Brisbane and Newcastle, was available because of the closure of the Adelaide Rams.

Kris Radlinski is expected to follow Terry O'Connor by pledging his long- term future to Wigan. The Great Britain full-back is poised to agree a new, four-year, deal that will warn off rugby union clubs who had been watching his situation.

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