RFL keen to assist Crusaders players
The Rugby Football League say they are doing all they can to help Crusaders come to terms with yesterday's Engage Super League licensing bombshell, with meetings planned with the Rugby League Players' Association in a bid to resolve the issue of owed monies.
The north Wales club withdrew their licence application at the 11th hour ahead of yesterday's announcement at Old Trafford, meaning their three-year stay in the top flight will come to an end when the current season does.
The decision of club owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts was not relayed to the players until a matter of minutes before the announcement, though, prompting a number of them to make furious, expletive-laden statements via Twitter.
Underpinning some of their anger is the fact they are still owed money by the club relating to a pension scheme, and a number of them contacted the RLPA to seek advice.
The RFL have confirmed they are aware of the matter, and are looking for a way they can assist the players.
“Clearly this is a difficult time for everyone at Crusaders as there is a great deal of uncertainty following Tuesday’s announcement,” said chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer.
“We are exploring the option of Crusaders participating in the Co-operative Championship next season and are in constant touch with club officials.
“I contacted the Rugby League Players’ Association at 11.02am on Tuesday morning and have a series of meetings planned over the next few weeks at which we hope to address many of the issues facing the Crusaders players and staff.”
Gareth Thomas, the dual-code legend, is the Crusaders' most high-profile player and he has criticised Moss and Roberts for being on holiday at the time of the announcement, while it is understood the players are furious that Moss and chief executive Rod Findlay recorded interviews explaining the move for the league's official website on Monday night.
Crusaders, bottom of the table, have five fixtures left to fulfil, and doubts had been raised over whether that would happen, with so many players - in an already threadbare squad - disgruntled.
But one of them, Lloyd White, insists they will make it through to September, starting at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats - one of the club's spared by Crusaders' demise - on Sunday.
“We're definitely going to stick it out,” White told BBC Sport.
“We don't have to play for anyone else. We play for ourselves and the fans now.
“I think it would be good for ourselves to go out and try to put a few performances together. It's going to be hard, we all know that.
“There are still boys who need to play (to) try to get contracts like myself. Obviously everyone needs to get contracts now.
“People like myself, Michael Witt, Rhys Hanbury, Ben Flower all signed long-term deals at the club.
“We should be getting paid until the end of the year, but we haven't been promised that. It's all up in the air.”