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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 12:57 GMT
York Wasps fold
York Wasps fans
York fans rallied to try to save their club
Last-ditch moves to save ailing Northern Ford Premiership club York Wasps have failed, signalling the end of professional rugby league in the city.

Russell Greenfield, who resigned from the board of directors on Monday, announced at lunchtime on Tuesday that a deal to sell the stricken club to a mystery buyer had fallen through.

The former vice-chairman conceded that the 1500 GMT Tuesday deadline set by the Rugby Football League to save the club would not be met.

"We're very sad," he said. "The club no longer exists.

To be fair, if I were buying a company, I would want more time
Russell Greenfield

"At the moment we are doing the legal work to wrap the club up and in an hour the doors will be locked.

"It's a terrible situation. We couldn't have tried harder.

"It went down to the wire but they didn't proceed and, to be fair, if I were buying a company, I would want more time.

"I'm so disappointed and my heart goes out to our coach Leo Epigania, who gave up a home and a job in Australia to come to this club."

York's four directors resigned from the board on Monday, paving the way for a takeover.

At that stage Greenfield was optimistic of a positive outcome on Tuesday, saying it was merely a case of "dotting the Is and crossing the Ts."

"We as a board want the sale to go through and for rugby to continue in York," he said on Monday.

Play for nothing

The board members decided last week that the club was no longer financially viable but managed to gain a stay of execution of seven days.

The club's resignation from the League was due to be accepted on Tuesday with no deal completed by the deadline.

The directors said it would cost around 30,000 to wipe out the existing debt and a further 70,000 to see out the rest of the season.

Last Sunday's league match against Gateshead was postponed but the players were prepared to play for nothing against Featherstone on Good Friday.

The players also agreed to waive this month's wages owed to them, which amount to about 12,000 of the club's deficit.

A meeting of 400 fans on Sunday also attracted pledges of more than 10,000.

See also:

25 Mar 02 |  Rugby League
York directors step down
20 Mar 02 |  Rugby League
York handed rescue deadline
20 Mar 02 |  Sports Talk
How to halt the NFP's decline?
20 Mar 02 |  Rugby League
York lose survival fight
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