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Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Friday, 11 March 2011

Crusaders confident over new Super League licence bid


Crusaders aim to be the first Super League club to submit their application for a new three-year licence.

Current clubs have until 15 April to enter their bids but the Wrexham outfit say they will have theirs with the Rugby Football League by 23 March.

The RFL board of directors will announce successful bidders on 26 July.

As a development club, Crusaders are expected to get the nod to continue until 2014 at least despite a troubled history since their launch.

The Welsh side finished bottom in their first year in Super League, winning just three games, and had six players deported over a breach of visa regulations.

A move from Bridgend to Wrexham in December 2009 as they faced financial problems saw them bounce back superbly to reach the Super League play-offs.

But the club's future was then plunged into doubt when they went into administration with debts thought to amount to around £1.25m, most thought to be inherited from their time in south Wales.

Crusaders had a winding up order dismissed in November 2010 and appointed former Gateshead chairman Rod Findlay as their new chief executive the following month.

We have shown that rugby league in Wales is here to stay

Crusaders chief Rod Findlay

Findlay, who helped put together the original licence system in his role as the RFL's in-house lawyer, believes the club are in a stronger position than when they received their current licence in 2008.

"We are optimistic about our application," he said. "A lot of hard work and preparation has been going on behind the scenes at the club to make sure we submit the best application possible.

"That work includes a huge amount of community activity, introducing a player pathway in north Wales to replicate what we already have in place in the south, and getting the business behind the scenes ship-shape for the next three-year licence period.

"The 2008 application was based on a promise of what the club could achieve and we have shown that rugby league in Wales is here to stay."

The RFL is committed to promoting a team from the Championship - Widnes, Halifax and Barrow submitted their applications earlier this year - and will announce that decision on 31 March.

With Harlequins and Catalan Dragons also secure as part of the RFL's expansionist policy, a heartland club will almost certainly be relegated from 2012.

Wakefield are thought to be most at risk due to sub-standard facilities at their current ground and uncertainty over their plans for a new stadium.

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see also
Crusaders confident on visa trio
10 Mar 11 |  Crusaders
Harris admits to Crusaders issues
06 Mar 11 |  Crusaders
Crusaders appoint new chief exec
08 Dec 10 |  Crusaders
Club's winding-up order dismissed
17 Nov 10 |  North East Wales
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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