CASTLEFORD Tigers’ chief Richard Wright said he is “confident” the club will be celebrating a new Super League licence when rugby bosses hand out new franchises next week.
Speaking exclusively to the Express, Mr Wright said the club had put a lot of “hard work” into its application to the Rugby Football League (RFL) and hoped it would win the chance to play in the top-flight for another three years. He is inviting fans to the Probiz Coliseum to hear the announcement – with club staff and players – from 10am on Tuesday.
Mr Wright said: “The club is in a considerably stronger position than it was three years ago – and part of that is through the Super League and the stability it brings. A new licence would give us another three years to continue to build the club and take it to the next level.
“If we didn’t get a new licence it would be a massive blow – but I’m confident we have shown the RFL we are a Super League club. We want fans to join us on Tuesday so we can hear the news together.”
The RFL will assess the club on a range of criteria – including its facilities. Earlier this year, Tigers signed a deal with financial partner Opus Lane (North) Limited, which pledged to provide all the funding for a £12m new stadium in Glass Houghton if it secures planning permission for a supermarket development at its current ground on Wheldon Road.
Mr Wright said the supermarket planning application, which has been supported by a petition signed by 20,000 residents, is due to be submitted to Wakefield Council next month – with a decision expected at the start of 2012.
He said: “The application is being prepared by Opus. The company has had significant pre-consultation with the council so it can ensure it has prepared all the reports the planners will need. Pre-consultation is designed to iron out any issues before it goes to a planning committee – so we hope there will be no delays.
“Once we have planning permission, Opus will provide all the funding needed to build the new stadium, which we hope will be ready for 2013.”
The club chief has previously claimed the scheme could spark £150m of investment in the Five Towns and create 2,000 new jobs. He said the club was at the “heart of the community” and wanted any associated contracts to go to local businesses.
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The Super League announcement will be made at 11am next Tuesday. See www.pontefractandcastle fordexpress.co.uk for the decision.