THE engage Super League XVI season has yet to kick-off but troubled Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are likely to start their season with a six-point deduction.
The Wildcats submitted an application for administration on Tuesday, 24 hours before the club was due to face a winding-up order in court.
However, the descent into administration will automatically incur a six-point penalty from the Rugby Football League and put the Wildcats on the back foot when the new season gets under way next Saturday.
The points deduction, equivalent to three wins, is the standard penalty for a club in administration but a spokesman from the RFL admitted that this will not be confirmed until the governing body’s board of directors meets to discuss the Wildcats’ plight.
This non-executive board, comprising the RFL chairman, chief executive and three non-executive directors is yet to announce the date when such a meeting will take place.
The spokesman confirmed that the RFL had been approached by two prospective buyers of the club but early discussions had been “clouded by Super League licensing”.
He added: “Of course, buyers would want to know if the club is likely to be in Super League after this season but that is impossible to answer.”
On Monday, application forms were sent to clubs wishing to apply for a renewed Super League licence in 2012, but the final decision on which clubs will play in the top flight won’t be made until July.
While the RFL spokesman revealed that administration “does not preclude the Wildcats from obtaining a licence” he added that it “doesn’t do them any favours either.”
Crusaders have already been docked four points, having gone into administration in November, but the club’s decision to carry forward a large amount of their historic debt was looked upon favourably by the RFL who ruled against a full six-point deduction.
However, that is a situation that is unlikely to apply to cash-strapped Wakefield who are set to go into the clash with Castleford Tigers next weekend two points adrift of the Welsh side at the bottom of the Super League table.
Administration will also have an impact on the club’s hopes of strengthening their squad before the start of the season.
Head coach John Kear has expressed his interest in signing forwards on loan in a bid to bolster the Wildcats’ pack but those plans could be scuppered by the club’s desperate financial situation.
Any signings, permanent or loan, must be approved by the RFL but the impact of new players on the club’s wage bill will make it virtually impossible for the club to add to their squad.
Read today’s Wakefield Express for more news from the Wakefield Wildcats.