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Wakefield Trinity Chairman: No plans to sell Super League franchise

Wakefield may move away from Belle Vue at the end of the season Credit: PA

Wakefield Trinity Chairman Michael Carter has denied reports that the club is set to sell off its Super League franchise.

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Carter has also revealed the club has rejected a ground-sharing offer from neighbouring Featherstone.

Carter is currently weighing up his options after serving notice to leave the club's historic but dilapidated Belle Vue ground at the end of the season and says a move to Dewsbury for 2018 is the likely outcome.

The Rugby Football League has told Super League clubs it would be receptive to the idea of struggling members relocating to other cities but Carter says he has received no approach and doubts that anything will materialise.

"It was something that was discussed at a Super League meeting in February," Carter said. "It was discussed for 10 or 15 minutes and it seemed within the room that there might be some mileage in it but that's all it was.

"I would suspect that, even if there was somebody out there that wanted a Super League franchise in Dublin or Coventry or anywhere like that, it's going to take at least two years to fathom out all the red tape and the intricacies.

I know it's been done before but it's been Hull to Gateshead and Huddersfield to Sheffield, not a million miles away.
For me, it's one of the ideas that's floating around that has got absolutely no substance to it whatsoever at the minute.

– Michael Carter

In the more immediate future, Wakefield are likely to move in with Dewsbury next season but are also thought to be considering a ground-share with Bradford after ruling out the Featherstone option.

"There's still lots of discussions ongoing with a lot of different options," Carter said. "There is obviously still the Dewsbury one which I would guess is kind of favourite but there is another one in West Yorkshire.

"Featherstone has been mentioned but I can say categorically that we won't be going to Featherstone. It's a political decision. If we were to move to Featherstone, the council would feel that it's job done because we're still in Wakefield."

Carter believes the local authority still has a moral obligation to help the club build a new stadium just off the M62 at Newmarket, planning permission for which was granted in 2012.

Former Wakefield and RFL chairman Sir Rodney Walker last month stepped down as chairman of the Wakefield and District Community Stadium Trust after failing to bring the stadium plan to fruition but Carter, who has labelled Belle Vue unfit for purpose, says he has not given up hope.

"The fight goes on," he said. "The only thing that is really stopping Newmarket happening is the money. The planning permission is there for a 12,000-capacity stadium but we need to find the £10million to £12million that it will take to build it.

"That has been re-explored over the past six weeks.

"It's not dead in the water by any stretch of the imagination. We've got a new chairman of the trust, renewed vigour within that trust and we're fighting desperately hard to get what we were promised.

"If we can't squeeze the money out of the developer, we have to work out how can we raise it ourselves to at least kick-start the project.

"I'm not convinced that Newmarket is the right location for Wakefield Trinity but beggars can't be choosers, we just need a new facility.

"I'm fighting on behalf of the club and the citizens of Wakefield to get what was promised to them at a public inquiry."