The RFL has welcomed Crusaders RL’s transfer of ownership to Wrexham Village Ltd, the owners of Wrexham FC, a move which secures the club’s future in Wales.
Crusaders RL today announced that they will play the majority of their home games at the Racecourse Ground after Wrexham Village Ltd purchased the club from former owner Leighton Samuel.
Crusaders RL will also retain strong links with their roots by forging a close relationship with South Wales RLFC, the newly-formed Neath-based club which will play in The Co-operative Championship One in 2010.
Nigel Wood, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “It is great news that not only has the future of Crusaders RL been saved but that Rugby League has been able to reinforce its presence in Wales.
“It became increasingly clear for a number of reasons that the club wasn’t capable of flourishing in the situation it was in, but it is testimony to the attractiveness of the competition that new owners were found.
“For the first time Rugby League has a whole of Wales presence. This is a very exciting opportunity and I am sure that Geoff Moss, Paul Retout and his fellow directors at Wrexham will provide the vision, the leadership and the resources required to make Crusaders RL succeed in Wales.
“The RFL Clubs’ Support Unit has been working closely with the Crusaders RL in recent months and will continue to make its skills and expertise available over what is a very important period in the club’s evolution.
“The transfer of ownership to Wrexham Village Ltd will bring much-needed stability to Crusaders RL and the RFL is looking forward to establishing a healthy relationship with the club’s new owners.”
Wrexham and North Wales represents an exciting development opportunity for Rugby League, which is no stranger to the Racecourse Ground. In 2001 England completed a narrow 42-33 victory over Wales at Wrexham in front of a crowd of 6,373 while in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup Wales defeated the Cook Islands 38-6 before a Racecourse Ground crowd of over 5,000.
“Wrexham and North Wales are ripe for development and we are already formulating strategies that will see Crusaders RL establish strong community links and foster Rugby League growth from the grassroots up,” added Wood.
“There are 71 schools in Wrexham, a university with 8,000 students just across the road from the Racecourse Ground and a region which has no other professional sports club. I am sure that Crusaders RL will make the most of such a receptive potential audience.
“The link between Crusaders RL and South Wales RLFC will also ensure that the progress made in Wales over the last four years continues and I am looking forward to both clubs giving Rugby League an increasingly Welsh flavour in the years to come.
“We now have in place a pyramid structure that will enable the sport to grow with confidence.
“From Crusaders RL in engage Super League, through South Wales RLFC in The Co-operative Championship One to the vibrant Rugby League Conference, the Student Rugby League and Schools Rugby League, the game is well placed in Wales.”