Widnes to pay dearly for legal defeat

RUGBY LEAGUE
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The Independent Online
Widnes have lost their court attempt to block next season's Super League, but may press on with their legal battle, despite already facing a bill estimated at pounds 50,000.

The club had its application for an injunction against the Rugby League refused at the High Court in Manchester yesterday and was ordered to pay both its own costs and those of the League.

Widnes took the action when they were excluded from the Rupert Murdoch- inspired Super League, due to start next March, after being told that they were in it. "We are naturally very disappointed, but there is further action we could take, which we will be considering over the next few days," Jim Mills, the club's chairman, said.

"We just feel we've been let down. We acted on what the chief executive of the Rugby League said when he told us we would be in the Super League. If you can't believe what he tells you, who can you believe?"

The chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, said that he hoped that the decision would end the legal wrangles over the introduction of the Super League. "It clearly gives no one any pleasure when a member club brings action against other member clubs," he said. "It is sad that Widnes will be left with a massive legal bill."

Widnes were the one club to vote against the revised plan for the Super League, which involves the top 10 sides in this year's First Division being joined by the London Broncos and Paris in the new competition.

Keighley, denied promotion despite finishing as Second Division champions and absent from the vote, are still to decide on whether to pursue their own legal case against the League.

There could be further action in the courts over the Sydney City Roosters' refusal to pay Wigan a transfer fee for their Great Britain loose forward, Phil Clarke.

The Roosters are one of the clubs remaining loyal to the Australian Rugby League in its battle against Murdoch. They no longer consider themselves bound by the international transfer agreement that would have entitled Wigan to pounds 70,000.

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