York City Knights will play out fixtures, pledges chairman John Guildford
The Kingstone League 1 outfit was thrown into turmoil last Thursday when the board of directors announced club’s imminent closure after conceding defeat in their two-year battle to find a new home.
The Rugby Football League have been involved in a rescue attempt but, after last Sunday’s opening Super 8s fixture against Doncaster was postponed, there has been continued confusion surrounding York’s future.
Club owner Guildford announced on Monday he was prepared to hand it over to a local businessman “virtually debt-free” to enable the team to see out the season, but there was nothing concluded.
However, last night the RFL issued a statement saying he is in discussions with a potential purchaser and while the necessary due diligence and legal formalities take place, Guildford has confirmed he will continue to run York during this period.
This means tomorrow’s game against Toulouse in France does go ahead and Guildford said: “It has always been my priority to do what is best for rugby league in York.
“I want to end this period of uncertainty for the club whilst negotiations are ongoing by guaranteeing that I will ensure the club will fulfil all their remaining 2016 fixtures.
“We are in contact with both City of York Council and York City FC and hope they will assist us in arranging the fixtures, as published by the RFL, to be played in York.
“This is a proud club with a great heritage and a talented squad of players and I will do everything I can to ensure that they are given the opportunity to win League 1, starting this weekend in Toulouse.”
Details for the rearranged League 1 game with Doncaster are still to be confirmed, but home fixtures against Barrow Raiders (Saturday, August 6, 2pm) – subject to agreement from the club and the RFL’s operational team – plus Hunslet Hawks (Sunday, August 21, 2pm) and London Skolars (Sunday, September 4, 3pm) are all set.
Meanwhile, the cost of flights and accommodation in France comes out of central funds, but head coach James Ford says several of his players have been unable to take time off work or have been unable to commit for other reasons, which leaves him with a threadbare squad.
They have around eight players missing and he admits a “lack of clarity” has not helped.