Dons owner Hall slams Wigan chief Lenagan

Carl Hall
Carl Hall

Dons co-owner Carl Hall has come out all guns blazing against Wigan counterpart Ian Lenagan over a delay to discussions on the re-struturing of rugby league.

Club chiefs were due at the RFL this week for an EGM where it was hoped major changes to the sport would be confirmed, including promotion to and relegation from Super League from 2015.

But the meeting was cancelled at the last minute after Lenagan mounted a rebellion against the plans.

Wigan chairman Lenagan instigated a hastily arranged meeting, inviting all 14 Super League clubs on Monday with the majority of attendees opting to inform the RFL they required further consultation on the plans.

Discussions are now expected to resume after the Rugby League World Cup, leaving a matter of weeks until the start of the new season.

The week’s events have left Hall fuming and he penned an open letter to Lenagan, criticising his actions and motives.

Hall wrote: “Who the hell does Ian Lenagan think he is?

“Like all of us, he has known about this for 12 months. The RFL has been consulting with the clubs at meetings after meetings, and we’re all fully aware of what’s been going on.

“Then at the eleventh hour before the council meeting, Mr Lenagan goes and puts things in the paper as if he knows nothing.

“He’s supposed to be a businessman – has he been going to these meetings, or has he been sending people from the club who haven’t informed him?

“Ian Lenagan is the chairman and owner at Wigan, a very successful club that is winning trophies. If he wants to run the Rugby League, then he should leave Wigan and try and do that.

“When he was at Harlequins nobody knew who he was, and he wasn’t shouting his mouth off then. For him to have that meeting called off at the last hour and say that he hasn’t been informed about anything is nonsense. We were all ready to go to the council meeting.

“I own my club as well, and now we have no idea what’s going to happen next year. We have been recruiting players to play at a certain level, and who is he to interfere with that?

“I thought Rugby League people were family people, with morals.

“But here we have somebody who wants to have secret meetings with clubs, cherry picking the ones he can control.

“He has his own club to control – he shouldn’t be trying to run the whole game.

“Waiting until after the World Cup is too late.

“I fully support the RFL, but what I’m not happy about is why we have to cancel a big meeting on the back of one individual’s comments.

“For me personally, we should have gone to the meeting, aired our views in-house without going to the press. I have never been to the press like this before, but I felt that I had to with this.

“The policy and procedure of the RFL has always been to go to meetings and deal with things in-house, and I think he has disrespected the game by doing this publicly.”

The proposals would see Super League reduced to 12 clubs with up to four Championship sides having the chance to win promotion to the top flight each year, something which Hall has been vocal in his support of.