Exclusive: Doncaster Rovers set to take over Doncaster RLFC

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Doncaster Rovers are poised to take over Doncaster RLFC, the Free Press understands.

Both clubs this week played down speculation about the takeover, following a report in a national newspaper over the weekend.

But negotiations between Rovers and Dons are understood to be at an advanced stage and a formal announcement is likely to be made well before Paul Cooke’s side launch their 2014 season in January.

Dons, who finished sixth in last season’s Championship, are currently owned by chief executive Carl Hall and local businessman Steve Scholes.

Former Dons star Hall rescued the club from administration in 2009 and then laid the foundations for their most successful season ever in 2012 as they won the Championship One league and play-off double.

Hall, whose position is not thought to be under threat, has a very close working relationship with Gavin Baldwin, his opposite number at Rovers.

Both men have imposed strict business principles at their clubs.

The pair have also championed the ‘Club Doncaster’ initiative - a plan outlined by Baldwin to bring the town’s leading sports clubs together under one umbrella.

And that Sporting Club model now seems certain to become more formal in the foreseeable future, with Rovers and Dons keen to tie up a takeover deal.

Rovers will also be keeping a close eye on the ongoing restructuring of the Rugby Football League, which could open up a potential pathway for Doncaster to reach the Super League, as the club look to maintain profit margins at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“We work closely with Doncaster Dons Rugby Club and other sporting organisations as part of our Club Doncaster strategy,” Baldwin said in a statement.

“We are always looking for ways to strengthen our working relationships and exploring closer partnerships.

“No legal deals have been agreed to date and we will inform people if and when we agree any such deals.”

Earlier this week the Dons also issued a statement in response to a national newspaper report.

It read: “The Dons would like to state on record that it has not changed ownership and can confirm that the club has not encountered any problems paying its tax bills.”