Leigh wait for Championship recall

Leigh welcomed new head coach Ian Millward this week, but still do not know for certain their position for next season.

The Centurions were relegated on the final day of last season, despite a crushing victory over Whitehaven, with rivals Gateshead and Batley surviving in the Championship.

However, Gateshead have experienced well documented problems in the past few weeks, leading to calls for Leigh to be reinstated to the second tier.

Chairman Arthur Thomas said: “A few people have asked me what is happening. Well we are hoping, and we have been in contact with the Rugby League but unfortunately Nigel Wood and two others who are on the board were on holiday last week, they’ve young children and it was half-term. They only came back yesterday.

“We have to have a decision which way it is – very quickly, otherwise we can’t sell season tickets because we don’t know how many matches we’ve got. I think Rugby League have to make a decision before the 11th November. Personally I think they should make one either yes or no, by the end of this week.”

Leigh have already applied for a salary cap extension should their relegation be confirmed, owing to the fact they had already signed a number of players, such as Robbie Paul and Ricky Bibey, on a Championship budget.

Thomas added: “We’ve already applied, and you can apply for an extension. When we were recruiting such as Robbie Paul and the others we worked on Championship budgets. We are now at the full length. We have now applied to the Rugby League and said ‘look I’m sorry’, like Wigan did a few years ago, ‘these players are signed.’

“I don’t think people realise how little it is in Championship One. On our kind of turnover what we could spend would be £340,000 and that includes your national insurance and in-kind payments. We are not near the Super League cap of £1.6-£1.7m.”

The RFL recently announced that the Championship salary cap would be reducing from £400,000 to £300,000 for 2010, with the Championship 1 cap reducing to just £150,000.

Chief executive Allan Rowley said: “I think the biggest problem is with the salary cap is, because this has always been a three year plan because the Super League Franchise is a three year process and to actually change the salary cap amount midstream then suddenly affects the three year plan massively. That is our reason for speaking to the RFL because they are telling us to spend less.”

Leigh can still qualify to apply for a Super League licence in 2012 from Championship 1, providing they win the Northern Rail Cup in 2010.

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