Further woe for Crusaders

James Gordon

The future of Crusaders RL has been plunged in to more doubt after it was revealed they could be facing a £60,000 fine for the visagate scandal.

In September, six players – Jace van Dijk, Tony Duggan, Damien Quinn, Josh Hannay, Darren Mapp and Mark Dalle Cort – were banned from the UK for 10 years having breached the conditions of their UK visas.

Confusion still remains over the club’s location in 2010, with the RFL only able to confirm where one of Crusaders home fixtures would be played when the Super League fixture list was released a fortnight ago.

It has left the RFL with a dilemma, just over a year since they made the bold decision to grant the Welsh club a Super League licence, ahead of more fancied, traditional clubs such as Widnes and Leigh.

RFL boss Nigel Wood said: “We needed confirmation from the UKBA they had concluded their inquiries.

“That has only just been received so we are at liberty now to commence any rugby league specific inquiry, which we will be doing.”

The RFL have also raised concerns about Crusaders proposed move to Wrexham, and further financial sanctions could result in the withdrawal of main benefactor, Leighton Samuel, who has already threatened to stop funding the club in part or in whole should they proceed with a move to north Wales.

UK Borders Agency in Wales and the South West regional director Jane Farleigh said: “Having considered all the circumstances of this case, it was not considered appropriate to pursue a criminal prosecution against Crusaders Rugby League Club.

“However, the club has been served with a civil penalty notice for employing six illegal workers.

“The employers now face a fine of up to £60,000 unless they can prove to the agency that they carried out legally-required checks before employing workers from outside Europe.

“Businesses have a legal responsibility to carry out the correct checks and the consequences are severe for those who do not.

“The players involved have left the country and are now prohibited from working in the UK.”