YORK City Knights have NOT been included in the 2017 fixture list for Kingstone Press League One amid uncertainty over their future.

However, as predicted by The Press last week, Rugby Football League chiefs have confirmed the door is open for them to join the schedule should ongoing takeover talks prove successful.

The fixtures were announced at 7pm tonight.

An RFL statement said: "Opening fixtures include a bye for Barrow Raiders in week one. The reason for the bye week in League One in 2017 is that the York City Knights are not currently included in the 2017 fixture list.

"The RFL is currently liaising with the club in relation its ownership structure and, subject to resolution of this, the RFL hopes to be in a position to confirm their participation in Kingstone Press League One in the next few weeks.

"Regardless of the outcome of these discussions, it is the RFL's current intention that League One will be a 16-team competition in 2017."

League One had 15 teams this year but new Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack have been added to the line-up, making 16.

While their inclusion has been controversial for obvious reasons, it could well come to York's aid.

This is because an odd number of teams means that, currently, one side per week has a bye in the fixture list, and each of those blank weekends can be filled by the Knights should they get the green light in the coming weeks, making their re-inclusion relatively straightforward.

It is unclear if there is a deadline for their inclusion to be confirmed.

The future of the Knights has been uncertain for the last few months, with chairman and owner John Guildford putting the club up for sale having previously claimed City of York Council's problematic community stadium plan and a troubled groundshare at York City made the club unsustainable. He has reiterated he will not be involved next year.

As revealed by The Press last week, hopes are now high of a successful takeover by a so far unnamed party, with head coach James Ford saying he has been impressed by their plans for the club.

It is believed this party have held talks with the council over playing at City's Bootham Crescent home - a key part of the club's future given it is the only suitable ground now available in the city after their old Huntington Stadium home was demolished to be redeveloped into a community stadium for both clubs.