Rugby League: South Wales on hold

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The Independent Online
Four and a quarter hours into the meeting of the Rugby League Council at Wigan, the word came through that South Wales were in. Unfortunately for the Super League aspirations of the Cardiff-based club, that meant that they were merely in the meeting.

Three hours later, there was still no final decision on whether they would be fast-tracked into the competition and it will be at least another couple of weeks before that decision is made.

The question now is whether the momentum of the South Wales operation can be maintained through an extra period of uncertainty and delay.

"The one thing we didn't want today was a maybe," the Welsh team manager and the driving force behind the club, Mike Nicholas, said.

"But I felt that the response of the clubs was very positive and that they were on our side."

The stumbling block for the Welsh at yesterday's meeting was that council members - and, astonishingly, three Super League clubs were not represented - felt they must consult their own boards about the financial implications of admitting the club to the elite division. In short, there are clubs which do not want to share their pounds 87m windfall from Rupert Murdoch with any newcomers.

Another application to be fast-tracked into Super League from Huddersfield was not even discussed at yesterday's marathon talks and will be considered at the meeting that finally decides on the fate of South Wales.

One decision that was made was that professional rugby league will go north of the border next month, with Scotland facing Ireland at Partick Thistle's ground on 7 August.

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