RUGBY league is staying in Wrexham.

That was the hard-hitting message from Crusaders’ chairman Ian Roberts today as the club was served with a winding up notice.

The legal move against the club has been brought by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The case is due to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on
November 10.

Mr Roberts said he wasn’t currently able to comment on the matter. However, he said a meeting of shareholders to discuss the issue would be taking place later this week, probably on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. The venue had yet to be decided.

Asked whether he had a message for Crusaders’ thousands of fans Mr Roberts said: “It is the will of the Rugby Football League and the shareholders to continue Super League Rugby in Wrexham.”

News of the winding up petition has stunned fans of the Crusaders, including supporters’ club member Ian Hunter of Borras Park.

“I have already got a season ticket for next year, I’ve paid £150 for it. I phoned the club to ask them what’s going on regarding the courts but the man who answered said that everything was OK,” said Mr Hunter.

“It is very unsettling. The Crusaders has built up a loyal base of fans and I think the club does have the potential to really grow.”

A spokesman for the Rugby Football League, based in Leeds, confirmed his organisation was in discussions with the Crusaders but added he wasn’t able to comment further.

A spokesman for the HMRC said it had a strict duty of confidentiality which meant no comment could be made on individual cases.

She added: “HMRC does not aim to wind up companies, but rather to collect as efficiently as we can the debts that are due.

“We take a sympathetic approach to both individuals and businesses that have genuine short term difficulties in paying the tax they owe. In these cases HMRC will aim to come to an arrangement with them to give time to pay and so avoid taking action that might lead to an otherwise viable business being declared insolvent by the courts.

“HMRC only initiates winding up or bankruptcy action where it believes this really is the best course of action to protect the interests of the Exchequer; we do not take such action lightly.”

- The Crusaders face the possibility of further courtroom difficulties from the Rugby League Players Association (RPLA) regarding claims of unpaid pension contributions for about eight overseas players, a number of whom are no longer with the club.

RPLA sports secretary Geoff Burrow said his organisation was preparing to take legal action against the Crusaders over the matter. Mr Burrow added he was currently trying to find out more information regarding the winding up petition.