YORK CITY KNIGHTS have been kicked out of the reserve grade competition by the Rugby Football League.

The homeless outfit have also been told by the game's governing body that they will not be able to enter a team next season and have been instructed to pay any "legitimate costs" to clubs that have been affected by cancelled fixtures.

The Knights have played just one of their opening seven Championship Reserve Grade matches and, after last night's home game against Keighley Cougars was postponed, the RFL appear to have lost patience.

A statement said: "York City Knights have been expelled from the Championship Reserve Grade competition after failing to fulfil six of their opening seven fixtures in 2015. York have also been informed that the RFL will not accept any application from the club for entry to the 2016 Championships Reserve Grade competition.

"In addition, the RFL has instructed York to ensure that any legitimate costs incurred by opposition clubs in relation to the cancelled fixtures are promptly paid in full."

Head coach James Ford said the decision would have both a short and long term impact on his playing plans.

Ford said: "In the short term, it will impact on us. Bringing back players from injury, they have to have somewhere to play and develop match cohesion. In the longer term, one thing that I wanted to do as a head coach was make sure there is a pathway in and around North Yorkshire for players to progress and represent York.

"For one reason or another, that has been made really difficult.

"I certainly don't want to be the head coach of a club that disregards its history of developing young players. Over the close season, we need to sit down and look at some type of intervention and put in place plans to develop younger players. What that is, I don't know.

"We would look at doing something to support the community teams and make sure the quality players still receive good advice and have the chance to progress and play for York."

Responding to reports that the club's entire reserve team had been released after training on Wednesday night, Ford added that had not been the case. "Players that are in and around the first team, like Liam Richmond and Adam Dent, they will stay with us.

"Mick (Ramsden, former reserve grade coach), had ten to 12 players who were not contracted to the club. I spoke to them on Wednesday night. We apologised, on behalf of the club, and told them to go back to their clubs in the community and that, if we can restructure the pathways, we would be in touch.

"We have trained as a group on numerous occasions and they have conducted themselves really well. If the standards in League One hadn't dramatically improved then a couple might have featured (in the first team)."

Ramsden, a York RL legend, stood down last month as reserves coach, citing work and family commitments. He said the off-field troubles did not lead to his decision - but did make it easier. The club did not name a replacement.

He wrote on Facebook: “Just wanted to say a public thank you to all those reserves who trained with the Knights this year. You played a part in the successes that the first team have had so far under difficult circumstances. I'm sorry that it ended this way and none of you deserved it, but when a door closes another one opens if you work hard enough. Good luck lads.”

Ford, meanwhile, said the Knights now had to make sure they put themselves in a "good position" for coming seasons.

He explained: "As a coach, your job is modular. I have got to worry about this week, next season and the club in the long term. I am pretty confident that we are shaping up all right for this season. The boys are improving. They are very together as a group and we have to make sure we are in a good, solid, position for next year and beyond."