RUGBY league club Crusaders are facing legal action from the players' union over claims of missing pension payments.

The Rugby League Players Association has begun legal proceedings after the Wrexham-based club failed to explain why wage deductions from eight overseas players have not been paid into pension plans as agreed.

The RLPA, run by general union GMB, say the problem dates back prior to the club's relocation from Bridgend and corresponding change of ownership last year.

The players concerned should have had an agreed amount from their salaries paid into offshore pension funds but the union say these monies have gone missing.

They became aware of the problem when Government tax officials sought relevant paperwork.

Geoff Burrow, sports secretary of the GMB, said: "The money has been deducted from the wages and not put into any pension fund.

"When the pension provider needed the right paperwork to satisfy HMRC, the previous owners were never forthcoming. When the new owners took over it all started again.

"So, an amount of money from the previous club and this club has not been put in.

"The pension provider needs the relevant paperwork and despite many requests they have not completed it.

"There is all this money, no one knows where it has gone.

"We don't know the exact amount - it varies from player to player - but it is considerable.

"Our solicitors issued them with a threat of legal proceedings. They contacted the solicitors and asked for three-week delay while they tried to restructure their finances.

"The three weeks was up last week, so we are going onto the next stage."

The club have been contacted for a response and are expected to comment this afternoon (Tuesday, November 2).

A Rugby Football League spokesman said: "We are aware of the matter and are in dialogue with the club."

There has also been an unconfirmed report that the club have been issued with a winding-up petition by HMRC. Again the club are still to comment.