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Broncos agree Barnet ground-share
The future of London Broncos has been secured after they agreed a ground-share with Barnet FC.
The beleaguered Super League club, homeless after leaving the Twickenham Stoop, were in danger of going into administration but their agreement with the non-league football club ensures they will fulfil their fixtures for the 2014 season.
Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous said: "We are delighted to welcome the London Broncos into our family here at The Hive."
Friday's announcement, which covers the 2014 and 2015 seasons, is the culmination of six months of talks amid speculation that Broncos' long-term chairman and benefactor David Hughes was looking to wind down his commitment to the club.
Hughes is set to remain in charge of the Londoners during the 2014 season, with Kleanthous expected to assume control for 2015.
In addition to playing their home games at The Hive, the Broncos will switch their training to Barnet's former ground, Underhill.
Hughes said: "Our focus has always been to ensure we made the right decision going forward.
"Over the last 10 days, we have worked closely with the Rugby Football League and Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous to avoid administration and secure the future of the Broncos.
"I believe this is the right decision, not only for the club, but also for the future of rugby league in London."
A move to north London was always the Broncos' favoured option but negotiations did not always run smoothly and on November 20 the club instructed their lawyers to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators.
The move protected the club from action by creditors and gave them more time to put together a rescue package.
London chief executive Gus Mackay said: "These discussions have been ongoing for six months and I'm personally delighted they have reached a successful conclusion for an exciting future.
"The facilities at The Hive are outstanding and the excellent transport links around the ground make it a perfect venue for rugby league in London.
"The initial agreement is for the 2014 and 2015 season with a view of a longer and permanent agreement.
"I'd also like to thank the players, staff and loyal fans for their patience and understanding through this period of negotiation. Now we can all move forward positively."
The move to Barnet will mark yet another fresh start for the London club, who have endured a nomadic existence since their formation at Fulham's Craven Cottage in 1980.
They have played in east and west London and also had a brief spell in the 1990s in the north of the capital at the Barnet Coptall Stadium, which has since been redeveloped as the new home of Saracens.
Kleanthous said: "This deal represents a new beginning for the club and we hope to work with the Broncos in the community to grow the participation and support of rugby league in north London.
"The Hive is a £26million internationally recognised training complex incorporating a stadium, sports science unit, gym, conference centre and state-of-the-art medical facility.
"We are proud to enhance the number of resident clubs here and host the Broncos alongside the Bees.
"I feel these are exciting times ahead for both clubs and I cannot wait to take my seat for our first RL match next year."
The next step for the Broncos will be to assemble a squad ready for their opening match of the 2014 Super League season at Widnes on February 16.
Head coach Tony Rea has seen 16 of last year's squad leave the club but he is thought to have drawn up a list of targets and is set to announce the appointment of former St Helens and Great Britain scrum-half Sean Long as his assistant.
The club are expected to receive special dispensation to exceed the overseas quota and will make use of the loan system to borrow players to get them up and running.
It would also be no surprise if the Broncos were to recruit from Bradford, who have made it known they are prepared to sell players to relieve the financial pressure on their club.