YORK City Knights have been "put up for sale" by owner John Guildford, according to a new press release submitted by the club this week - and while the release might not have cleared up any uncertainty, it has sparked new developments in attempts to sort out the future of professional rugby league in York.

Potential buyers were "invited to come forward", with the club statement saying this is an "exciting opportunity for new owners to shape the future of rugby league in York".

What will happen to the troubled club beyond this season therefore remains unclear, especially with no home ground confirmed for next year and with Guildford set to leave.

However, in a direct response to this statement, York City's owners, JM Packaging, has reiterated a "sincere determination in pursuing attempts to ensure semi-professional rugby league is maintained" in York.

Furthermore, in a new twist as revealed by The Press today, JMP also said it had now held discussions with the Rugby Football League to establish "how this objective may be achieved".

Guildford, owner and chairman of the Knights, has said he is leaving at the end of the season. He says the "intention" is for the club to continue, but there remains huge uncertainty over where they will play next year and indeed if they will carry on if a new owner is not found.

It is also unclear if the RFL have put a deadline on matters to be sorted, but the clock is ticking. For a start, fixture lists for next year are due out in a month's time.

The team - who have reached the Kingstone Press League One play-offs despite the off-field strife - face a semi-final next weekend, still uncertain whether promotion is possible.

In this week's Knights up-for sale statement, Guildford said: "We are immensely proud of our achievements in taking the Knights to become a top Championship One club over the last ten years, who still have a chance of promotion to the Championship.

"Running a Championship-level club in rugby league requires commitment, hard work and does bring a number of challenges but is very rewarding.

"The club now needs fresh ideas and support if it is to continue to produce the level of rugby that we all love as well as building on the existing relationships within the business community and community clubs in and around York.

"I hope that someone comes forward who has the best interests of the club at heart who will be able to fully realise the club's potential."

The statement is a bit confusing in that many fans thought the club was already on the market, given events of the past two months.

It all began in July with Guildford saying he was to close the club and make the players free agents, arguing problems with City of York Council's community stadium project and the Bootham Crescent groundshare with City made it unsustainable.

That announcement was followed by the resignations of directors Dave Baldwin and Neil Jennings, but later by Guildford saying he would see the season out. Takeover talks with York businessman Gary Dickenson also followed but ultimately came to nothing.

This week's Knights statement does not say how much, if anything, the club would cost, although amid the talks with Dickenson, Guildford had said he was to hand it over as a "virtually debt-free going concern".

It remains unclear what will happen if there is no buyer.

Regarding JMP, The Press understands it remains most unlikely the Malton-based company - whose owner Jason McGill is City chairman - would negotiate taking over the Knights business, arguing the groundless rugby club have "no assets of value that would be of interest".

Its route would seemingly involve a new rugby club taking the Knights' place, should the Knights fold or even, as recently rumoured, relocate out of the city.

JMP has previously publicly declared an interest in running a rugby league team alongside City, although, on that note, Guildford said in this week's press release that "no expression of interest has been made by JMP to either the RFL or the Knights".

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL's chief operating officer, confirmed on September 4 that the governing body had not held talks with JMP.

However, JMP say the two parties have since met.

The statement from JMP said: "Following an inaccurate statement to the contrary earlier this week (by the Knights), JM Packaging are anxious to reaffirm their sincere determination in pursuing attempts to ensure semi-professional rugby league is maintained within the city of York.

"Discussions have been held with the RFL to establish how this objective may be achieved as City of York Council has clearly indicated that allowing rugby to continue at Bootham Crescent for the 2017 and 2018 seasons is definitely subject to adequate resolution of ongoing ownership matters."

The JMP statement went on to urge a speedy resolution - surely something all parties involved, not least the bewildered fans, would also like.

It said: "It is our view the underlying serious issues that are self-evident now urgently need to be resolved as a matter of extreme urgency thereby allowing the club to concentrate on their upcoming League One play-off games and also importantly focus on their preparations for 2017.

"Any further delay in this respect could potentially have damaging long-term consequences for the club."

On the ground issue, the Knights' press release this week said that with "contracts in place for fixtures to be held at Bootham Crescent, until completion of the new stadium, and RFL distribution funding confirmed for future years this is an exciting opportunity for new owners to come forward".

The belief there is that the Knights already have a deal in place to play matches at City's ground in 2017, regardless of what happens.

However, this has not been confirmed by City of York Council, which arranges those contracts as part of its community stadium scheme.

The local authority instead reiterated that, while there is an agreement for "rugby league" fixtures to take place at Bootham Crescent, it cannot enter into discussions with the Knights about their matches taking place there until the "ownership issue is resolved" and until both the council and landlords City are "satisfied as to the identity and financial viability of the Knights’ owners".

The council and Guildford, of course, previously had major fallings-out, which effectively rendered the Knights homeless in 2015. They had moved out of their old Huntington Stadium home at Monks Cross for it to be redeveloped into a shared new arena but then were initially not allowed to play at Bootham Crescent as planned, after the disagreements. They began playing there this season.

The club's press release added that anyone interested in taking over the Knights is asked to phone the club's Roland Court office on 01904 767404.