LEAGUE SUPER NIGHTLEAD
By Brad Walter of AAP
SYDNEY, March 7 AAP - England's Rugby Football League could be
on the brink of collapse if Super League does not start in
Australia, with revelations in the Federal Court today that its
$175 million contract with News Corporation was in jeapordy.
The admission of the game's "parlous" state in England was made
by RFL counsel Alec Shand QC, who made a belated entrance into the
long-running court battle to plead with Justice James Burchett not
to bn Super League.
Shand, who tabled an affidavit from RFL chairman Maurice Lindsay
stating the deal was the only thing keeping more than half the
English clubs from extinction, told the court News Corporation
could pull out of the agreement if such orders were given.
His view was supported by Australian Rugby League chairman Ken
Arthurson, who said the appearance of the RFL at the hearing
"smacked of desperation" on Lindsay's behalf.
Addressing the court on why the RFL should be given permission
to join the proceedings, Shand said part of the agreement with News
Corporation revolved around world club challenge matches between
the top four English and Australian teams at the end of each
However, if Super League was unable to get off the ground in
Australia, such matches could not be staged, giving News
Corporation grounds to escape the contract.
"If News Limited is restrained from televising matches with
binding orders, the overwhelming likelihood is that it will not
contribute any money to the internal competition or to memebers of
the newly-formed international scheme," Shand said.
"Failure of the international competition will flow to the RFL.
"The situation will probably revert to pre-Super League when
half of the clubs were insolvent and selling their grounds."
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