Warriors saga takes another twist
May 19, 2004

Leighton Samuel claims he will resume control of the Celtic Warriors after pulling the plug on a deal to hand 50% of the region over to the Welsh Rugby Union.

Samuel, the Warriors' chief executive and millionaire benefactor - who has on numerous occasions this seasonthreatned to walk away from the Warriors - received the money for his share in the region today but insists this will be handed back to the WRU.

He said: "Last Tuesday we agreed to sell our portion of the Warriors to the WRU. The share was agreed by both parties and completion was on the basis that we were to receive sufficient funds.

"We did not receive those funds until 2.58pm today by which time we had contacted the WRU and told them that the deal was off. The money that the WRU offered us this afternoon has gone into a suspense
account and I am seeking an urgent interview with [WRU chief executive David] Moffett to decide what to do about these funds."

Samuel is incensed by the WRU's treatment of his players as the governing body looks to slash the number of regions in the Welsh game from five to four - a reduction the Warriors chief is fiercely against.

"The WRU has been stripping the region of its assets by deciding who should go where when they had no right to do this," he said. "Players were badly shocked when the referee showed its hand by clearly deciding to dissolve our region and reduce the number to four.

"We were assured by the union that all they wanted was to remove the three directors - myself, my brother John and Derrick King - who were willing to tender their resignations subject to the money being received. Had we known that the union intended to reduce the number of regions from five to four then we would never have agreed."

Samuel is now intent on remaining Warriors boss and insists the region could still be in action next season.

"I am determined to stay in charge of the Warriors. Technically we are still a region with three directors who have turned down the WRU's offer. We could therefore still be competing next season," he said.

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