Wildcats rescued from likely extinction

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THE short-term future of one of Yorkshire’s top rugby league clubs has been secured after a deal was agreed to buy debt-ridden Wakefield Wildcats.

The Super League club formally entered administration yesterday but an agreement was reached with businessman Andrew Glover’s Spirit of 1873 venture to immediately buy the ailing business.

Wakefield are now able to complete this year’s Super League season which begins today subject to legal rubber-stamping by the Rugby Football League (RFL).

A statement said: “Spirit of 1873 Ltd is delighted to announce that it has today reached an agreement with O’Hara’s, the administrators of Wakefield Trinity Rugby League Football Club Limited, to acquire the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

“The deal, which is subject to the RFL’s final written confirmation that Andrew Glover passes their ‘fit and proper person’ test, will secure the Wildcats’ long-term future and give this historic club a fresh start under Spirit of 1873’s ownership.

“At the core of our plans is securing the financial stability which will allow us to support the team on the field and give our loyal fans the experience and success they deserve. The terms of the agreement will see the Club playing at its long-time Belle Vue home in 2011.”

Administrator Peter O’Hara said the club’s debts were in excess of £500,000, the bulk of which was unpaid tax.

He said HM Revenue and Customs, along with other creditors, are likely to receive only a minimal return under the deal.

But longer term, Wakefield’s future remains in doubt with the club looking for a new home with facilities that comply with Super League requirements.

The current season is the last at the Belle Vue ground and without a new ground Wakefield are in danger of losing their Super League licence which expires at the end of the season.

The RFL board is expected to confirm a six-point penalty on Wakefield for going into administration.