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Page last updated at 08:46 GMT, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Troubled Crusaders appoint new chief executive


Super League club Crusaders have named Rugby Football League lawyer Rod Findlay as their new chief executive.

The former Gateshead chairman has been appointed in the wake of cash-strapped Crusaders being given the go-ahead to continue in Super League by the RFL.

And he arrives in time to see the Welsh franchise come out of administration.

"My aim is to bring stability to the club and help Crusaders secure their Super League Licence in 2012," Findlay said in a statement.

The Crusaders were placed in administration last month in a bid to remove the burden of debt they inherited from the old Bridgend-based club a year ago.

Owners Ian Roberts and Geoff Moss have been cleared to resume control and the final details of a new deal are currently with solicitors.

The RFL's board of directors are expected to rubber-stamp their re-entry on Friday when rugby chiefs will consider a points deduction as a sanction for going into administration.

I hope to draw on all my experiences in working within rugby league as chief executive of this club

Crusaders chief executive Rod Findlay

But Findlay, the RFL's first in-house lawyer after 10 years as a partner at Newcastle firm Samuel Phillips, is already looking at the longer term.

And, after leading the original Super League licensing process in his role as the RFL's in-house lawyer, he is ideally placed to mastermind Crusaders' bid for a new three-year licence when they bid to renew, up against Widnes, Halifax and Barrow, in 2011.

Although facing a tough baptism to top-flight administration, he said: "I am delighted to take up this appointment and join a club with massive potential.

"Crusaders have established themselves as a strong Super League side and made a terrific impact last season.

"Crucially, there is a real appetite for rugby league in north Wales.

"I hope to draw on all my experiences in working within rugby league as chief executive of this club.

"The focus at Gateshead was introducing rugby league to a new area and there are many similarities here in Wrexham.

"This is a challenge I am really looking forward to."

The Welsh club endured a dismal first season in Super League as Celtic Crusaders in 2009, winning just three matches to finish bottom, while having six players deported over a breach of visa regulations.

But, despite moving to Wrexham from Bridgend a year ago due to financial problems, they bounced back superbly under Brian Noble to reach the Super League play-offs.

Noble stepped down in early November, with his assistant from last season - Wales head coach Harris - taking over the reins.

The club's future was then plunged into doubt when they went into administration with debts thought to amount to around £1.25m.

Most of the Crusaders' debts were inherited from their time in south Wales and talks are thought to have centred on the amount of debt that the current club was prepared to take on.

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see also
Crusaders sale 'by end of week'
01 Dec 10 |  Crusaders
Crusaders struck by redundancies
22 Nov 10 |  Crusaders
Club's winding-up order dismissed
17 Nov 10 |  North East Wales
Harris in for Noble at Crusaders
08 Nov 10 |  Crusaders
Crusaders complete Wrexham move
15 Dec 09 |  Crusaders
Six Crusaders are to be deported
18 Aug 09 |  Crusaders
Crusaders celebrate Super League status
22 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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