By PA Sport
Last Updated: 04/10/18 7:54am
Crisis club Leigh have been given special dispensation to sign players on loan to ensure Sunday’s Championship Shield Final at Featherstone can go ahead.
The match was thrown into doubt after the Centurions revealed they had only nine fit players and were told by the Rugby Football League they would be charged with misconduct if they failed to fulfil the fixture.
The transfer deadline passed before the start of the Super 8s but the RFL has given both finalists permission to draft in new players after taking into account “exceptional circumstances”.
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A statement said: “In response to a request by Leigh and Featherstone, and after consultation with the other Championship and League 1 clubs, the Rugby Football League has agreed to grant a dispensation to both clubs to register, on loan, additional players ahead of Sunday’s Championship Shield Final.
“After taking into account all relevant factors, the board of the Rugby Football League believes that there are exceptional circumstances that justify this dispensation.
“The dispensation will be limited to current academy players who have not played at first-team level in Super League.”
The Centurions were relegated from Super League at the end of last season and their failure to win their place back this time resulted in a major cost-cutting exercise after club owner Derek Beaumont served notice to end his funding.
The club found new homes for a raft of players which left them with a reduced squad and, coupled with a glut of injuries, were unable to field any substitutes for last Sunday’s final league game at Dewsbury, which they lost 52-6.
Leigh say their situation has now worsened and, of the nine definitely available for the Featherstone game, two are amateur players, although another three are facing fitness tests on Saturday.
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Leigh say they have yet to receive any offers of new investment and reveal that six of the players who have so far refused to accept new terms have not yet been paid their latest wages.
The club also say that two players who did receive their payments in full have left the country.
The RFL has yet to comment but is thought to be working behind the scenes to ensure Sunday’s game goes ahead.