Wakefield Trinity deny planning to sell their Super League licence

Aaron Bower
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Wakefield are spending their final season at Belle Vue and may well spend next season at nearby Dewsbury.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images</span>
Wakefield are spending their final season at Belle Vue and may well spend next season at nearby Dewsbury. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Wakefield Trinity have denied reports that they are set to sell their Super League licence, with the club’s chairman, Michael Carter, describing it as a “non-story”.

The Guardian revealed this month how cities such as Coventry and Newcastle were interested in acquiring an existing Super League franchise and one report had suggested that Trinity were interested in selling up amid continued doubt over where they will play their home games in 2018.

They have recently served notice to leave their Belle Vue ground and play outside Wakefield next year as they fight for a new stadium in their own city but Carter rejected speculation that the club are looking in effect to sell their place in the top flight to the highest bidder.

“It’s just a non-story, there’s nothing to consider,” he told the Guardian. “It’s an idea that has been floated around at a meeting that all Super League clubs were at but in terms of us, there’s no meat on the bones whatsoever.

“Even if someone from these places popped their head above the parapet and said: ‘I want your licence,’ I suspect it would take at least two years to fathom out all the red tape. What happens with players and coaches? There’s implications with TUPE [transfer of undertakings] and things like that – it would take a long time.

“I think it’s just something that’s been thrown about – I’m yet to see any evidence that people are putting firm offers on the table with regards to buying a licence and for us at Wakefield Trinity, it’s business as usual.”

The club received planning permission for a 12,000-capacity community stadium in the city five years ago but are yet to see progress on that front. That led Carter to say Wakefield will leave Belle Vue next season after branding their current home unfit for purpose.

Several Championship clubs in the area have offered Wakefield the chance to ground-share in 2018 – and the club may well play in nearby Dewsbury – but Carter revealed he is quietly confident of progress on their long-awaited dream of the proposed Newmarket Stadium in the Stanley area of the borough.

“The fight for Newmarket is as strong as ever,” he said. “We’ve had some decent meetings in the last week or so, so the fight remains alive. It sounds blase but the only thing stopping us is the money – because planning permission is there. We’re in dialogue with the council as we speak.”

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