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‘The Man City of Rugby League’: Dubai company set to take over North Wales Crusaders

League One club North Wales Crusaders have confirmed that they’re set to be taken over by a Dubai company, subject to RFL approval.

If the takeover is approved, it would be massive news for Crusaders and would secure their future with the finances in rugby league always a case of cutting your cloth accordingly. For many teams, particularly those in League One, that’s incredibly tough to do. Earlier this year Hunslet confirmed they’d lost £45,000 in the previous year.

For North Wales Crusaders, finances have also been an issue as only in May were the club seeking investment, aiming to raise £10,000 to remain as a “sustainable enterprise that carries the ability to attract potential investment going forward”.

Fast forward just over a fortnight and that new investment looks to have arrived with the club agreeing a deal with ELKALEH LLC of Dubai for the group to acquire a majority stake in the club.

It’s a major piece of business if it is approved and could potentially see North Wales Crusaders become the richest club in rugby league, akin to the likes of Manchester City and Newcastle United in football.

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Who are North Wales Crusaders’ investors?

Jamie Elkaleh is set to take over North Wales Crusaders

Credit: Imago Images

North Wales Crusaders confirmed the investment news last night via their social media and website, an announcement that has shocked the rugby league world.

One fan shared the announcement, stating: “The Man City of rugby league by any chance?”, whilst others pointed out that there was a familiar face involved in the deal.

That familiar face is actually the owner of ELKALEH LLC, Jamie Elkaleh, who has worked at Hull KR as an analyst under Tim Sheens, whilst also holding roles previously with the RFL.

He was appointed as ‘Talent Inclusion Officer’ in 2021 after working at KR, Salford and Warrington, as well as Manchester City meaning comments from fans about the club being “the Manchester City of Rugby League” might not be too far off the mark.

Speaking at the time of his RFL appointment, Elkaleh revealed that a school visit by the touring Kiwis back in 2004 drew his attention to rugby league.

“I’d come from a football background but that made a big impression on me and our whole family. Since then I’ve really enjoyed my time working with Warrington, Salford and Hull KR.”

He’ll now head up a new opportunity down in League One should the RFL approve his takeover.

What Jamie Elkaleh has said about taking over Crusaders

North Wales Crusaders

Credit: Imago Images

Confirming the news, North Wales Crusaders said: “Following an extensive range of talks, the club’s board of directors have today accepted an offer in principle from Elkaleh LLC and provided the Rugby Football League with the relevant documentation for them to begin their legal processes.”

Elkaleh himself added: “We are incredibly proud to have agreed a deal to gain majority ownership of this wonderful club.

“The beauty of North Wales Crusaders lies in its rich history, compelling story and the passionate fans who form its heart.

“My ambition is to elevate North Wales Crusaders and achieve that by strengthening our connection with North Wales as well as significant rebuilding efforts.

“Incoming investment and sponsorship will fuel our push for success, and, upon approval from the RFL, we shall hold a fans forum before setting out to strengthen our partnerships with local communities, and establish relationships with the wider rugby communities.

“It would be my honour to return North Wales Crusaders to the forefront of the game and region, and I look forward to sharing my long-term ambitions with you in the near future.

“Together, we can make this happen.”

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