Wakefield refute speculation they are to sell Super League license

Wakefield Trinity owner Michael Carter has refuted speculation in one newspaper suggesting they are set to sell their Super League franchise and effectively relegate themselves from the top flight.

League Express revealed a number of weeks ago how areas such as Coventry and Newcastle were looking to acquire an existing top-tier franchise should a club be willing to sell.

But Carter has told TotalRL that as far as he is concerned, speculation that Trinity are looking to get involved in brokering such a deal is a “non-story”.

“It’s just a non-story, there’s nothing to consider,” he said. “It’s an idea that has been floated around at a meeting that all Super League clubs were at in February – for around 10 minutes, I might add – but in terms of us, there’s no meat on the bones whatsoever. I’m disappointed in the story.

“Even if someone from these places popped their head above the parapet and said ‘I want your license’, 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 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 license and for us at Wakefield Trinity, it’s business as usual.”

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

Several Championship clubs in the area have offered Wakefield the chance to ground-share in 2018, but Carter revealed he is quietly confident of progress on their long-awaited dream for a new stadium.

“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 blasé but the only thing stopping us is the money – because planning permission is there. We’re in dialogue with the council as we speak.

“Super League has introduced minimum standards where clubs have to have attendances of 6,500 so it’s within our remit to improve that. If short-term we move away, then we will, but the thought process behind it is with an aim to getting back to Wakefield in the longer term.”