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Widnes Vikings Snubbed by RFL

Super League rugby has once again been denied to the people of Widnes by a decision prioritising expansion of the League into Wales over supporting a heartland club who have developed a first class buisness plan.

Widnes Vikings Chairman Steve O'Connor says he is deeply disappointed at the Rugby Football League's decision not to award the club a Super League Licence for 2009 but has assured supporters that he will be staying to "complete the job that I've started".

Mr O'Connor said: "It is important that our fans are reassured that I am fully committed to Widnes Vikings. When I took over the club last November I told supporters I was in for the long haul - and I meant that. I believe we put together a very strong application, despite the fact that we were working against the backdrop of a club that had gone into Administration under previous ownership. That was a fact of life and a big negative for us but it was something that we had to work around.

"My management team has made sterling efforts over the past eight months to transform this club into an organisation that we felt would complement and, indeed, be an asset to Super League. We are grateful to the RFL for giving Widnes Vikings the opportunity to apply for a Super League Licence and we now need to take stock of the situation and discover why our application was rejected and where we go from here.

"There was great competition for these 14 licences and some of the applicants were bound to lose out at the end of the day. I feel it is vital for the game as a whole that the Super League flourishes under this new licence system and I'm still convinced that Widnes Vikings have all the credentials to become a powerful force in Super League.

"Of course we now need to plan for a National League One campaign and ensure we are the top team in this league. We must build on the solid foundations we have laid down over the past eight months and prepare an absolutely irresistible licence application for the future.

"The fans have been fantastic and I share their disappointment but it is essential we retain their support for the future. I would like to record my special thanks to Halton Borough Council and in particular Council Leader Tony McDermott and Chief Executive David Parr who have been unswerving in their support for Widnes Vikings.

Club sponsors are lining up behind the club. Domino's Pizza have already issued a statement saying they will continue to sponsor the Vikings in the 2009 season.

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