North Wales Crusaders are celebrating after being admitted to the play in the Cooperative Championships 1 division next season, bringing a successful outcome to the four-month campaign to preserve professional Rugby League in the region.
A consortium of local businesses and supporters tabled a bid for a new club after demise of the Super League team in July, when owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts withdrew their application and financial support.
One of the final hurdles for the fan led group to have their application accepted was overcome yesterday after leader of the SaveTheCru campaign Jamie Thomas put himself forward as a nominated guarantor in accordance with the RFL’s requirements.
The agreement means that he would underwrite any risk of the club failing to meet its obligations to the league for the next two years. Should the club fail in those obligations, the guarantor would be liable for up to £50,000 per year.
Having exhausted all options of potential bank agreements or insurance policies the club decided that the only option would be for an individual to sign the guarantee with the RFL and Mr Thomas agreed to step forward.
The nature of the agreement will require Mr Thomas to be the 51% majority shareholder until April 1st 2014 when it expires, at which point the holdings will be re-divided.
The remainder of the club will be 26% owned by the Supporters Club and the rest divided amongst five other Board members.
The application centred on the new club being a not for profit business with the involvement of the whole community, which it says remains core to it principals.
Commenting on his decision to step forward as guarantor, Jamie Thomas said: “Whilst on paper this alters the envisaged shareholder structure in the short term, it really changes nothing as every penny of net profit will either be invested back into the club or community programmes.”
The SaveTheCru campaign has seen over 5,000 fans register their support along with 300 local businesses.
The board of the new club will be made up of prominent local solicitors, accountants and businessmen along with representatives of the Crusaders Supporters Club.
Speaking about the decision, Mr Thomas, who is also acting Chief Executive of the club said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have managed to rescue the club from the brink of extinction and it’s a testament to the fans for the unwavering supporting throughout what has been a really tough time.
“So much hard work has been put in to develop the game in the community it would have been a travesty if all of that had gone to waste. North Wales has embraced Rugby League and the fans have really taken it to their hearts. This is the dawn of a real solid future for the game in the region.”
North Wales Crusaders also announced that they have secured a deal to keep the club in Wrexham, playing at the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium.
Thomas said “Clearly it’s a fantastic facility that has been home to some really exciting matches over the last couple of years and long may that continue. We are delighted to have reached a fantastic agreement with the university and look forward to working with them long into the future.”